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THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 



« 

I 



SECOND EDITION 

THE WINDING ROAD 

By BLIZABBTH GODPRBY 

P/^ESS OPINIONS 

" An idyllic fancy."— H/<?rA/. 

" A Iresh and attractive work." — Morning Post. 

" A refined and dainty story." — Daily Chronicle. 

" Always fascinating . . . one of the best things in recent 
fLtdaa" —Times. 

" A really attractive \iQtik,"—Manck€s*er (hMrdi^n. 

" The book has its own charm and melody. " — Westminster 
Gaeette. 

" Miss Godfrey writes of the swelling grassy down, the 
slow-sailing doud shadows, and the long white road which 
leads down into the forest land beyond, with the pen of a real 
artist who knows and loves. . . . The story is well written, a 
disting<iishffri piece of work throughout/' — Aihenetum, 

" The man and the maid in Miss Godfrey's book chose 
the winding road through love of it, and for each other, and 
their simple adventures and heart-joys and pangs make 
pleasant reading." — Times. 

" Miss Godfrey has the mind of a poet, her pages breathe 
of the beautiful in nature without giving long descriptions, 
while the single-hearted love between Jasper and Phenioe is 
described with power and charm." — Literary World. 

*' Is well written, and comes as a freshening change from 
the sultry plots and intrigues of the drawing-room." 

Academy. 



THE BRIDAL 
OF ANSTACE 



BY 



ELIZABETH GODFREY 



LONDON : JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD 
NEW YORK ; JOHN LANE COMPANY. MCMVI 



flLc tZ-b\ 



WnL Qowet k Sods, Limited, Printcfs, London. 



To 
FLORENCE M. BEALE 

A UN K IN A LONG CHAIN 



I 

I A faithful friend is better than gold — a 

I medicine for miaery, an only possession. 

Burton 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

BOOK 

I Missing 1 

II The Silence 45 

III The Valley of Achor 107 

IV The Golden Bowl 201 

V The Coming of the White Bird . 291 

VI The Silence Broken 333 



*' Fight on I my men. Sir Andrew sayes, 
A little I' me hurt, but yet not slain ; 
ril but lye down and bleed awhile. 
And then 111 rise and fight again.** 

7%e Ballad 0/ Sir AnJreiv Barton. 



BOOK I 

MISSING 

I 

In the tales beloved of our youth the climax was 
reached at the church door, the wedding bells 
rang down the curtain ; now we perceive that they 
more often ring it up; it is with the wedding 
that the story begins. Decidedly it was so with 
the marriage of Anstace Westwood to Count 
Basil Leonides, head of an ancient family of 
Fanariote Greeks, a branch of which had been for 
some time established as an important trading 
house in Smyrna. For any woman the giving 
herself wholly and forever into strange hands 
must be the beginning of a new story: for this 
English girl, brought up in somewhat narrow and 
formal traditions, to marry an Asiatic Greek, and 
leave at his bidding, not only her English home 
but the religion in which she had been bred, must 
needs have been a veritable plunge into the 
unknown. 

London might be empty as everyone was say- 
ing, seeing it was but the first week in October, 
and the world away at its moors and its country 
house parties; moreover it might be supposed to 
be sated with the crop of weddings which were 
the outcome of the season's marriage market; 



2 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

nevertheless a goodly contingent, both of invited 
guests and of the miscellaneous curiosity-mongers 
who scent out a wedding from afar with unerring 
instinct, had mustered in the Greek Church in 
the Moscow Road to witness a function that prom- 
ised some novelty. Human nature, high and 
low, finds a perennial fascination in weddings; 
the "low" to study the gowns with a view to 
emulation in cheap material and to enjoy a show 
gratis, the " high *' — or what takes itself for such 
— ^to criticise the demeanour of its friends in try- 
ing situations, to profess itself shocked at the im- 
propriety of the marriage service, and to scoff at 
its antiquated formulas. Yet perchance a better 
motive plays its part ; the fellow feeling that binds 
us all together and gives a conunon interest in 
all the great crises of life, be they weddings or 
funerals, witnessing to the solidarity of the human 
family. 

The invited guests were standing in two groups 
on either side the broad, pewless space; those on 
the bride's side nervously afraid lest they should 
be required to kn^el on the slippery, polished floor 
as some of the smaller group opposite were ob- 
served to do from time to time during the long 
Mass which opened the proceedings. The unin- 
vited were herded into the gallery at the west end, 
over the narthex, whence those in the back rows 
could see little but the great swaying chandelier. 

The hush was remarkable; the little breeze of 
whispering comment that continually gets up in 



MISSING 3 

the course of the usual wedding, and seems to 
bring the atmosphere of the reception into the 
church, had fallen dead silent, awed perhaps by 
the brooding twilight of the wide, lofty space, 
dim and sweet from the incense which still floated 
out from behind the gorgeous screen fencing the 
mysterious sanctuary from the nave, or by the 
sound of a weird chanting that from time to time 
arose from somewhere out of sight, by the whole 
strange symbolic pageant 

After the Mass followed two distinct functions, 
the troth-plight and the crowning, to be held to- 
gether on this occasion, as has become of late the 
more usual custom. The first was at an end ; the 
bride and bridegroom had disappeared, and a 
movement began. in the gallery, where the specta- 
tors thought all was over, but it was soon per- 
ceived that the semi-circle of guests in two seg- 
ments right and left still remained as if waiting for 
something yet to come. And now arose the sound 
of chanting from the narthex beneath the gallery, 
and heads were turned in expectation. Leaning 
forward, those in the front rows could see the 
priest as he emerged with swinging censer, from 
which arose faint violet clouds of a strange fra- 
grance, and behind walked the bride and bride- 
groom, each bearing a lighted taper. " She looks 
like a nun,'' murmured a watcher from above, 
for the drooping head was covered by a soft white 
veil, but adorned by no wreath of flowers. 

Few even of those who had any knowledge of 



4 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Greek could have followed the three long prayers 
on the married state nor the Litany in the un- 
wonted accent, save for the reiterated Kyrie Eleu 
son. That ended, bride and bridegroom stood be- 
fore the priest, who, stepping forward, placed a 
crown on the head of the man with the formula of 
symbolic import: "The servant of the Lord, 
Basil, is crowned to the handmaid of the Lord, 
Anstace, in the Name of the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost." Then another crown attached to 
the first by a long loop of white ribbon was placed 
on the head of the woman with the formula 
reversed. 

Strange to see this hitherto rather ordinary 
English girl thus set apart, not only by the cus- 
tomary enfolding whiteness of the bride, but by 
this mystic coronation. And Anstace was so won- 
derfully calm and self-^possessed. On her first 
entry she had seemed a little tremulous and shrink- 
ing, as well she might, having to go through this 
long and unfamiliar ritual, giving her not only to 
an alien husband, but to an alien religion ; but now 
her head, which had drooped, was lifted with a 
new dignity to meet the weight of the crown, and 
she stood with steadfast tranquillity, turning a 
little towards the bridegroom as though for 
guidance. 

The attention of most of the congregation wan- 
dered during the monotonous reading of Epistle 
and Gospel, quite unaware that the one was St. 
Paul's exhortation on the duties of married folk, 



MISSING 5 

the other the ntrrative of the Wedding in Cana, 
and that both, as well as the Psalm that had just 
sounded so strangely in their ears, are incorpo- 
rated in our own familiar marriage service. 

But now again, after more repetitions of the 
Kyrie Eleison, came a strange rite : the priest ap- 
proached the bride-pair and held a cup of wine 
to their lips; then, taking a hand of each, he led 
them three times solemnly pacing round the read- 
ing desk in the midst of the church, the grooms- 
man following closely with arms extended, hold- 
ing the crowns above their heads. The face of 
the bride was plainly visible now to the specta- 
tors in the gallery as she held her head erect and 
proudly, and walked with steadfast step. To her 
evidently it was no empty ceremcMiy, but a mystic 
symbol full of meaning. The bridegroom, too, 
moved like one in a dream, as if his feet trod, not 
the mosaic of a London church, but the pavement 
of the invisible House of God. Through such an 
ordeal an Englishman would probably have 
looked, would certainly have felt, a fool; not so 
Basil Leonides: that all eyes were focussed upon 
him troubled him not a whit; he was not even 
aware of it; to his consciousness he and Anstace 
stood alone before the priest. His eyes had the 
unseeing look of those who see things inward or 
far away. 

But for those rapt eyes he might have passed 
for a Frenchman, with his cosmopolitan air, his 
small, well set head close-clipped, his pointed 



6 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

beard trimmed French fashion, yet neither that 
nor the cut of an English tailor could quite dis- 
guise a likeness that haunted one of the wedding 
guests. ''Where have I seen someone he puts 
me in mind of?*' she was saying to herself with 
the puzzled feeling an untraced likeness gives; 
'' quite lately, too, and I cannot get rid of a vision 
of barbaric pearls and peacock's feathers quite out 
of keeping with his correct get-up.*' But the asso- 
ciation, whatever it was, eluded her. 

To the unaccustomed onlooker the ceremony 
seemed endless, for after this singular procession 
came yet more anthems, and the crowns were 
taken off with an exhortation which, were it under- 
stood, contained much the same allusions and ex- 
amples as our English Homily. At last all was 
ended; the solemn kiss was exchanged before the 
Iconostasis, and then the friends and relations 
crowded round with their congratulations. There 
was no going off for the signing of registers, but 
the whole party moved down the church, and as 
the wedded pair drove off the pent-up crowd flowed 
forth in two streams, out from the nave and down 
the gallery stairs, meeting and wedging in the ves- 
tibule, and* the long pent-up tongues were loosed. 
While the wedding guests waited their turn for 
the carriages a queer medley of conmient min- 
gled from either hand; everybody seemed wonder- 
ing and agape. 

" My 1 Wasn't It queer her having no 
wreath?" 



MISSING 7 

^'She ain't so good-looking as him.*' 

" H'm, sort o' furrin lookin' chap : give me an 
Englishman for my money." 

" Rather a striking person, the bridegroom, eh, 
what?" 

'^ Not quite one's idea of a Greek though. I 
pictured a little man in full white muslin petti- 
coats and a red fez." 

The man laughed. *' Oh, you are thinking of 
the Albanian guards at Athens. Besides, you 
mustn't mix up the modern Athenian with these 
survivals of the old Empire families. Odd how 
the type should have been maintained in them: 
this man might have stepped off the frieze of some 
lost temple." 

" He looks to me more like a Frenchman." 

''Would any Frenchman have gone through 
that solemn farce without the movement of an 
eyelid?" 

" Oh, take care I There's the Archimandrite 
coming out. Besides," after a glance round to 
make sure that the dignitary had passed out of 
earshot, ''how can you call it a farce? So deli- 
ciously quaint and archaic, don't you know? So 
unlike the ordinary English wedding." 

"Thank Heaven 1 Life would not be long 
enough for many such. They give you plenty 
for your money, eh? Ah, here we are." 

" A rum sort of a show," came from the foot 
of the gallery stairs. 

Then the voice of the commonplace woman 



8 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

with the inevitable remark: "Didn't the bride 
look sw ^" 

"She looked like the bud of an arum lily," 
said the minor poet, breaking in somewhat rudely 
lest he should lose an apt simile. 

They, too, were swept off and a fresh batch of 
comments came surging out. 

" I did rather wonder Sir Henry consented. I 
should have imagined he would require the most 
conventional of sons-in-law." 

"You forget old Lady Jane. An English 
grandmother in the background helps to authen- 
ticate this romantic personage." 

"And I suppose a diplomatist like Sir Henry 
has to mix with all sorts of foreigners." 

The man addressed chuckled. " You call him 
a diplomatist? Well, he takes himself very seri- 
ously, and that goes a long way with the great 
B. P." 

" But surely he belongs to a very distinguished 
family?" 

" The fool of the family, my dear madam, but 
a solemn fool, so he can make himself extremely 
useful in situations where a knowledge of the 
etiquette for given cases made and provided is a 
sine qua non. He hasn't initiative enou^ to do 
any mischief, and that is no small merit in the 
eyes of those who pull the strings." 

" He told me he had just been to the East on 
some important mission." 

" Some little matter on the fringe of the East- 



MISSING 9 

em question, I believe. His daughter went with 
him and picked up her Greek Count on the way 
home— ah, our turn at last.*' 

More comments on the service and the bride- 
groom, who, contrary to the usual wont, filled 
more space than the bride in the public eye; then 
said someone, ''Charlotte must be pleased; to 
chaperone a daughter nearly as old as yourself 
must be something of a trial." 

So the various strands of conversation were 
woven and snapped as the guests were marshalled 
into the carriages to reunite later in the long 
double drawing-rooms, where, within the folding 
doors, the newly wed couple were standing to re- 
ceive the felicitations of their friends. A certain 
ceremony still pervaded the function: Sir Henry 
loved punctilio, and all the formal traditions were 
duly observed. The bride and bridegroom did 
not, like a modem pair, run about among the 
guests exchanging chaff and banter, but stood, 
holding their little court as it were, in a kind of 
aloofness. Count Leonides looked down from 
time to time at the girl beside him with shining 
eyes that were glad and proud, and accepted con- 
gratulations with a gracious air quaintly unlike an 
Englishman's gauche putting aside of everything 
savouring of sentiment, or whatever singles him 
out from the herd. There was no flush on the 
transparent coolness of the bride's cheek, yet she 
did not look quite as usual; a kind of inward 
glow that was neither triumph nor tremor lit* 



lo THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

up a face that was as a rule too passive for 
beauty. 

Presently a move was made, the bride cut the 
cake, glasses were charged, healths drunk, a few 
brief speeches made; then a flight of telegrams 
arrived which the pair opened together, Anstace 
smiling to see her new name on the envelopes. 
After a minute a few more were brought in, the 
waiter whispering that one had come round from 
the Count's hotel. He began to open it, turning 
his head the while to answer one of the stereotyped 
jests of the occasion, and it dropped to the ground 
between them. 

" Who is that last one from? *' asked Anstace, 
as he picked it up half unfolded, and her eye 
lighted on one word — Grazia. 

He glanced casually down, and his hand closed 
on it. ^ 

'* Mon Dieu 1 " he cried, drawing out his watch, 
" do you know how late it is? You must fly and 
get off your finery, unless you mean to travel in 
your wedding veil." 

** Is it so late? I hadn't an idea. I sha'n't be 
long. You can show me the wire when I come 
back," 

At the same moment the chief bridesmaid ap- 
proached to bear her away. She looked back at 
him from the door and thought, ^' How strangely 
white he looks, though he is more used to such 
long functions than I am. It will be good to get 
away by our two selves, as he aaid." 



MISSING 1 1 

There was a brief lull; the guests would not 
disperse till the bridal pair had taken their de- 
parture, and in the meantime addressed them- 
selves to tea and coffee. Lady Westwood and an 
old friend of the family sought a brief refuge in 
the former's morning-room, where they had a 
private little repast brought them. 

** I feel I must sit down a minute before be- 
ginning to say good-bye to everybody," sighed 
Charlotte; '* I have been on my feet since eight 
o'clock this morning. A wedding takes more out 
of you than twenty parties 1 " 

"And such a wedding I Weren't you fright- 
ened at such an imposing function ? " 

" I was indeed; I was so afraid we might blun- 
der and not have the veil properly adjusted for 
the crown. We decided it was safest to have no 
flowers on her head. It all seemed to go off right, 
didn't it?" 

" It was wonderfully beautiful and impressive : 
I wouldn't have missed it for worlds. I nearly 
did though: you know I only arrived this 
morning." 

" Fancy coming off straight I But where were 
you? I didn't see you." 

" Oh, I was in the gallery ; the ceremony was 
half over when I got there, arid an austere per- 
son with a wand forbade my entry; but I con- 
trived to squeeze myself to the front in time to 
see the crowning. But, now do tell me, did not 
Anstace object to changing her religion?" 



12 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

'^Not a bit; she was so odd about It. I tried 
to talk to her seriously ; I thought it was my duty, 
don't you know, for though I am not so much 
older than she is, I do stand in the position of 
her mother, and though Sir Henry goes to church 
regularly and all that, he hates talking of serious 
subjects; men do— at least they did in his day: 
it used to be considered rather indecent to men- 
tion your soul except in church — so he left it to 
me. I begged her to consider what a serious step 
it was to change one's^ faith, and she said she 
wasn't changing her faith, only the form of it." 

^^ Well, I suppose it is the indifferentism of the 
present day." 

^' I don't know about that : she is more enthusi- 
astic about her new religion than ever she was for 
the old ; she says it seems more real. I never 
thought her a very religious girl, though she was 
serious in a way: she used to say very odd 
things." 

" But could she make up her mind to anathe- 
matise the Church in which she had been brought 
up?" 

"Oh, that was not required of her, only to 
anathematise Protestant heresy, which she said she 
was more than willing to do." 

" And did not Sir Henry object? " 

" Well, yes, at first, but on that point Basil was 
adamant, and Henry did not want the match to 
go off; Anstace has always been rather a difficult 
girl." 



MISSING 13 

"You mean in temper? It is always a diffi- 
cult position." 

"No, oh, no; she is very even tempered; she 
and I have alwajrs got on admirably. No, I 
meant in the match-making sense. I have always 
done my best for her, and although you couldn't 
call her exactly handsome, she is an attractive girl, 
but always directly a man seemed interested she 
grew satirical, and nothing chills them off like 
that." 

Her friend laughed. " And she is not satirical 
to her Greek Count? So I suppose she is in 
love with him." 

" In her own way; she doesn't philander in 
public nor rave in private, but I notice when he is 
there she has eyes for no one else." 

" It is a good match, I suppose ? " 

"Oh, very; he belongs to one of the old ar- 
chontic families of the Fanar, though they have 
been settled for a century and more in Smyrna. 
His uncle was the head of the Leonides business 
there and has left it to him with a beautiful house 
just outside the town among the rose gardens, and 
from his father he has inherited a little rocky 
island in the ^gean where he goes for yachting 
and shooting, and where he seems to be a petty 
prince over a few hundred inhabitants, holdiifg, of 
course, under the Sultan." 

" It sounds like a page out of the Arabian 
Nights; no wonder Anstace was fascinated. 
Where did they meet? " 



14 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

"She went in the spring with her father to 
Constantinople; Lord sent him out to con- 
duct some negotiations with the Armenian Patri- 
archy and they came back in the same vessel with 
Basil. They had only been acquainted just over 
a week when he first proposed." 

" Ah, one can fancy it. A week of the Medi- 
terranean in June, with nothing to do and no one 
to distract. Love-making goes fast." 

" And then, you see," pursued Lady Westwood, 
anxious to defend Sir Henry from the imputation 
of having caught unduly at the material advan- 
tages, '^ he had an English mother and spent a 
good deal of his boyhood with his grandmother, 
Lady Jane Wellow, at Thurston Towers, down in 
Somersetshire." 

"Ah, I remember old Lady Jane; and she is 
still alive? Not here, I suppose? "* 

" No, she never stirs from home. Anstace is 
to be taken there to be introduced after a fort- 
night's honeymoon at the Lizard. Then Basil's 
steam yacht, the Delphine^ is to pick them up at 
Falmouth and carry them off to Amygdala. But 
all this time I haven't heard a word about your 
affairs. So you stopped in Florence?" 

" I did indeed, and could hardly tear myself 
away — ah, now I have it I I have been trying 
all day to recall who it was that Count Leonides 
puts me so in mind of; I have it now. Do you 
remember the fresco of the Three Kings in the 
Ricci Chapel? The one that is said to be a por- 



MISSING 15 

trait of the Emperor John might have been 
painted from your Count." 

** That is curious, for one of his proudest boasts 
is that the blood of the Paleologus runs in his 
veins. I have heard him talk with enthusiasm of 
Constantine." 

" But it is John whom he resembles ; a singu- 
lar face, ardent and tragic. Possibly an uncom- 
fortable husband; visionaries always are." 

"Well, we'll hope not." The speaker leaned 
back and drawing aside the lace curtain looked. 
down into the street. "The carriage has been 
there some time," she said. " I think I must go 
and hurry Anstace." 



i 



Anstace was alone at last. There had been a 
grand ceremony of taking off the bridal satin and 
lace and putting on the garments of ordinary hu- 
manity, conducted by Lady Westwood's maid — 
Anstace had never had one of her own — and the 
children's nurse, assisted, or rather hindered, by 
two or three of the principal bridesmaids, who 
chattered and fluttered up and down, posing be- 
fore the big mirror in the wardrobe door and set- 
tling their own curls afresh. This important func- 
tion took place in the spare bedroom, as had the 
previous adorning of the bride; Anstace's own 
little room upstairs would hardly have afforded 
space for the satin train, to say nothing of the 
surrounding bridesmaidens. 

" La 1 Miss Anstace," cried the nurse, " There I 
what am I saying? Madame, I should say; I 
suppose it will come natural presently — ^you do 
look quite the Countess." 

But the maid took and kept the lead. " Hold 
still a minute, mum, while I fix your veil. Mind 
you, don't go putting it up to kiss people, or 
you'll spoil the set of your hat. Just one look at 
yourself and then you must go down; I heard the 
carriage drive up a minute ago." 

Anstace got out of the hands that fluttered 
about her with a little impatient twist. She was 

i6 



MISSING 17 

weary to the point of crossness, and she had al- 
ways been accustomed to dress herself. 

" Is it all done? " she cried " I feel as if I 
were not my own." 

And then a swift colour mounted to her cheek 
as she recollected that never again would she be 
quite *' her own " as she had been. She stood a 
moment on the going foot before the full-length 
glass. 

"You look perfectly charming," cried the 
younger bridesmaids with enthusiasm. 

Anstace made a whimsical face. '^ The clothes 
of the Countess Leonides do, I admit, but where 
am I, I wonder?" 

Truly, there was not very much of her, not 
much effectiveness either of figure or of colour. 
Very slender, with outlines clear and true, but 
more like a pencil sketch than a finished picture; 
complexion fair and rather pale now the momen- 
tary flush had faded, soft brown hair loosely ar- 
ranged, cloudy and rather low-growing, eyes well 
fringed which declined to reveal much— if there 
were much to reveal. Looking taller than she was 
from mere slightness of build, compared with the 
type of strapping young woman now in vogue, 
she looked unimportant, in a sense undeveloped 
in spite of her five and twenty years. The rich- 
ness of her furred travelling garb swallowed her 
up, the big picture hat overshadowed the small, 
white, weary face. A flash of sudden insight 
might have prompted her last remark. 



•I 



1 8 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Her young step-aunt and chief bridesmaid 
slipped her hand into her arm. ^'Now for the 
good-byes/* she said, but Anstace drew herself 
away. 

'* Go on and tell Charlotte I am just ccnning. 
I must run up first and say good-bye to Anstace 
Westwood," she added to herself sotto voce. 

'' You need not go up, Miss Anstace, the chil- 
dren are downstairs," called the nurse after her, 
hearing but half, but Anstace ran on till she 
reached the top storey of the high London house 
and shut herself into the little room which had 
been hers from nursery days till now. It had 
neither the untidiness nor the bareness of a room 
about to be left, for since she got up that morning 
but for the ordinary housemaiding it had been de- 
serted, and her little personal possessions, which 
later on would have to be packed up for removal, 
were for the present all left; Countess Leonides 
must of course have everything new. 

On the mantelpiece were the remnants of the 
toy tea-set out of which she and her brother Will 
used to drink tea with the dolls. Charlotte al- 
ways wondered that they had not long ago been 
made over to the baby sisters; '^ Because you know 
there's no sentiment about Anstace," she used to 
say. The walls were a curious mixture, a few 
good HoUyer photographs of favourite Watts 
and Rossetti subjects disputing preeminence with 
one or two gaudy nursery prints, in one of which 
a curly headed child in a red frock was feeding a 



MISSING 19 

robin twice as large as itself. Under the chimney 
glass was a faded daguerreotype of Sir Henry as 
a young man with long whiskers, and another of 
a young woman in a black silk apron, with kind 
eyes, and several of a sailor-boy in different 
stages of growth. Over the prayer desk alone 
were signs of change; there were marks where 
certain pictures had been taken down, and an 
Icon, very archaic looking, reigned instead; the 
desk itself was clear of books, for the former 
ones had been put away, and the new ones which 
Basil and the Archimandrite had given her were 
already packed with the things that wens going 
with her. 

She looked all round with a catch in her breath, 
then crossed to the window, where, over a sea of 
chimney-pots, broken with an occasional spire, 
brooded a wide sky veiled with London's tawny 
haze. There had. not been much space for soli- 
tude or self-communing in Anstace's life hitherto, 
filled from end to end with distractions as it had 
been, but whatever there was of it had belonged to 
this little den, and it had been with some vague 
idea of catching for a moment at the old self be- 
fore bidding it good-bye for ever that she had 
come up here. It eluded her, even when she 
turned from the window and knelt for a moment 
before the Icon to try and ask a blessing on her 
new life. Her mind was in a whirl, her ear all 
alive to catch the tones she expected to hear call- 
ing her, and in a moment she rose, came out into 



20 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

the passage, and stood waiting at the head of the 
stairs. 

4 

It was Charlotte's voice that broke in upon 
her solitude. 

" Anstace, dearest I Fancy your being up here ; 
I couldn't think what had become of you. It is 
quite time to come down. There was such a lot 
I had to say, but in a crowd like this it all goes 
out of one's head. We've been very happy to- 
gether, haven't we? and I shall miss you 
awfully." 

Anstace returned her kiss warmly. *^ Indeed 
we have ; you have always been sweet to me. And 
thank you so much for making everything go off 
so well to-day; Basil said it could not have been 
better done. Where is he? I don't want to go 
down without him." 

*' I expect we shall find him waiting for you 
at the bottom of the stairs; the carriage has been 
there some time. Come along; your father will 
like a word with you first." 

Sir Henry received his daughter in a far more 
ceremonious manner than he had ever done be- 
fore. Already she had become "my daughter, 
the Countess," and an atmosphere of considera- 
tion had sprung up round her. He led her for a 
few moments into his wife's little morning-room 
on the first floor, and proceeded in his formal 
manner to say all the things he conceived a father 
should say to a motherless daughter on her wed- 
ding day. He spoke to inattentive ears; Anstace 



MISSING 21 

was listening not to his familiar tones, but to the 
babel outside, questing through it for the voice 
she looked for. Seeing he was making no im- 
pression,' Sir Henry ceased and offered his arm in 
a stately and somewhat affronted manner. On 
the threshold she was besieged by the usual aunts, 
cousins, and old friends, whose placid indifference 
a wedding always stirs to sudden enthusiasm. 
They all had so much to say about the bride- 
groom, the unfamiliar service, her wonderful pros- 
pects. She had heard it all so many times; she 
looked past them wearily and answered more and 
more mechanically. Then a little silence fell, and 
she glanced uneasily at the clock. Charlotte 
passed, looking a little flustered: Anstace caught 
at her gown. 

" Do tell Basil how late it is," she said. " I 
wish we could get off ; I am so tired." 

" 1^1 run down and find him. He is always 
vague about the time, you know. People from 
the East never seem to realise the value of time 
to us Londoners," she laughed to the man who 
was with her. 

Anstace went on talking spasmodically and a 
little incoherently. A restless expectation per- 
vaded the company; people began to look at the 
clock; they had got very tired of waiting, but there 
was an impression that it must all be part of the 
lengthy ceremonial of the day, and that something 
unusually striking would presently follow. By 
and by a rumour, an indistinct murmur of ^^ what 



22 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

18 it?'' spread from those gathered in the hall to 
watch the departure to those grouped about the 
drawing-room door to make the more intimate 
farewells. Lady Westwood hurried up the stairs 
with flushed cheeks and whispered to Sir Henry 
who hastened down* She laid her hand on An- 
stace's arm. *' Come in here a moment/' she said, 
drawing hei- into the moming-room. 

Anstace gazed at her with large questioning 
eyes, and followed her without a word. The mo- 
ment the door was shut she turned to her step- 
mother. She looked as if a whitening wind had 
passed over her face. 

'^ Something has happened," she said in a level 
voice. 

Charlotte gave a nervous laugh. '^ Don't be 
frightened," she said, '^nothing is the matter so 
far as we know, but it is too absurd and tiresome 
of him; it seems he went out for something or 
other, and — ^and — he has not got back yet." 

" Got back I Where has he gone to? " 

" I have not an idea ; I hoped perhaps you 
had." 

'^ But, Charlotte, people don't go away in the 
middle — even on important business. What did 
he say ? " 

" I don't know, my dear; he didn't say any- 
thing to me; only one of the waiters says he saw 
him go into the billiard-room just after you had 
gone up to dress. You know all the luggage that 
is going by sea is in there, so I suppose he wanted 



MISSING 23 

to get something out that had been put there by 
mistake, but no one seems to have seen him since ; 
perhaps he had to go round to his hotel for what 
he was looking for." 

"Where is father?" 

" He has gone down to speak to the man at the 
door." 

"The detective?" 

" Yes. Of course there is one there to guard 
the presents,, and he naturally would notice who- 
ever went in or out." 

At this moment Sir Henry came in. He spoke 
irritably, as is the wont of an Englishman when 
puzzled and thrown o£F the customary tracks of 
life. 

"Anstace," said he sharply, turning on his 
daughter, " pray what is the meaning of this tom- 
foolery ? What can possess Basil to go off in this 
way just when you should be starting ? That car- 
riage must have been at the door at least an hour. 
As to the train, why, of course, youVe missed it. 
I never knew such folly in my life." 

" Don^t scold Anstace, Daddy," said Charlotte, 
putting a protecting arm round the rigid figure in 
the middle of the room. " Poor child, it is worse 
for her than for anybody." And then could have 
bitten out her tongue for saying it, since her one 
idea was to keep up a fiction that nothing unusual 
had hai^ened at all. 

" It is the most annoying contretemps ^^^ fumed 
Sir Henry ; " and as to that idiot in plain clothes 



24 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

who was posted in the hall, he swears that neither 
Leonides nor anyone else has gone out of the 
front door since the carriage came round, nor for 
half an hour before/' 

Anstace wished that the remembrance of the 
garden door and the little flight of wooden steps 
that led down from the billiard-room into what 
was called by courtesy a garden, had not occurred 
to her; it seemed like suggesting she dared hardly 
say what even to herself. Her tongue felt dry 
and stuck to the roof of her mouth. It was Char- 
lotte's voice, not hers that uttered the words, 
" There is a way out at the back." 

"Nonsense!" said Sir Henry testily; "how 
you women do rush on the most unwarrantable 
conclusions to be sure I Why, that door has not 
been opened for years ; it is always bolted. What 
should he do such a ridiculous thing as that 
for?" 

" Why doesn't somebody see ? " said Charlotte. 
" The bolt is on the inside : if anybody did go out 
that way, they could not fasten it again after 
them : I'll go myself and look." 

As she came out she found the guests begin- 
ning to drift away. Those of nicer feeling, con- 
scious that something mysterious and untoward 
had happened, had slipped off without farewells; 
others lingered, inquisitive, under pretence that it 
would not be civil to omit leave-taking. Charlotte 
made short work with them, and in a surprisingly 
brief time the last carriage was called, and before 



MISSING 25 

she got bade from her investigations the sound 
of departing wheels was growing indistinct round 
the comer of the square. 

Anstace was standing just where she left her, 
with a curious air of suspended animation, while 
Sir Henry was tramping about the room in indig- 
nant perturbation, shooting out complaints and 
questions directed to his daughter, to which she 
paid not the slightest heed. 

**He has gone out," said Charlotte, speaking 
very fast; " the little glass door was ajar and the 
garden gate was unbolted. It was so rusty it must 
have been difficult to get it undone, and there was 
even a mark where the ivy had grown across and 
had been pulled off. It must have been some- 
thing extraordinarily pressing to make him go out 
at such a moment, in such a way." 

Then Anstace found her voice. " I think it is 
quite natural," she said, speaking very clearly and 
rather loud, " if Basil was obliged to go out for 
anything, that he should choose that way rather 
than through all the people to be asked questions. 
There may have been a wire amongst all those 
that came that needed answering directly." 

" To be sure, to be sure 1 " said Sir Henry, 
pulling himself up suddenly on the hearthrug. 
" But what on earth could have been important 
enough to take him out at the moment of starting 
and keep him out all this time ? " 

" You see we should have been leaving London 
for a long time, for the Delphine, wzs to pick us 



26 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

up at Falmouth, so if there was someone who 
must be seen, or some business that absolutely 
must be attended to, the only thing was to slip 
off as quickly as he could. Of course he thought 
he would be back directly, so it would be better 
not to say anything." 

^' But in the meantime what is to be done ? " 
said Charlotte, looking round her with a bewil- 
dered ain " I never knew such an extraordinary 
thing happen, never. One can't just sit down and 
go on as if nothing was the matter.'' 

^' I think," said Anstace, still speaking in that 
strained voice, " I will go up to my room ; you 
can soon call me if — ^when he comes." 

She picked up her gloves from the table and 
went towards the door. 

" No, don't come, thanks," as Charlotte would 
have followed her; " I don't want anybody." 

"Anstace knows," said Charlotte with convic- 
tion as the door closed. 

" D' you think so? I can't make it out." 

" It must be politics or some of those secret 
societies or something. How I do hate Greeks! 
Why couldn't Anstace have married some decent 
Englishman," lamented Charlotte. 

" Pshaw! " said her husband. " I never knew 
a young fellow less interested in politics than. 
Leonides. I often wished he would take a rea- 
sonable interest in affairs." 

" Then what can it be ? There is nothing else 
that could account for such extraordinary conduct. 



MISSING 27 

It is too odious. After everything going so beau- 
tifully too; it seems such a fiasco." 

At that moment a servant entered, and both 
started forward; but it was only to say that the 
messenger sent round to Count Leonides^s hotel 
had just returned; the Count had not been there 
since he left for the church; a wire had come for 
him and had been sent round. 

" Well, I don't see what else we can do," said 
Sir Henry. 

But Charlotte's practical mind could not rest so 
easily. " We might send and ask the Archiman- 
drite," she suggested. " He went very early, so 
he doesn't know ; but he ought to be able to throw 
some light on what Basil would be likely to do." 

Sir Henry, who was by nature the type of man 
who likes to* be njaster in his own house, and 
scouts with contempt any suggestions from his 
womankind, had so completely lost his bearings in 
the unprecedented situation in which he found 
himself that he thankfully followed his wife's ad- 
vice; it was at least something to do. But he so 
far improved upon her idea as to take his hat and 
go off to the dignitary himself, leaving to her the 
task of dealing with the bridesmaids and such 
relations as were staying in the house. 

In less than an hour he returned, baffled, to find 
Charlotte in her evening dress, handling the situ- 
ation in a masterly manner. She had packed off 
the younger people after an early and scrambly 
meal to the theatre with her own young brothers 



28 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

and sisters; dinner was ordered for eight for the 
elderly aunts who could not be so easily disposed 
of, and an impression vaguely sown in their 
minds, rather suggested than brought forward, 
that the mysterious disappearance had to do with 
a Macedonian rising. She reported Anstace in 
her own room, sitting by the window with blind 
still up, still in her travelling garb. 

" I see you have no news," she said, as she 
glanced at his wearied and perplexed countenance. 

" Not a shadow ; the Archimandrite was as 
much at sea as we all are. Moreover, he has not 
the faintest idea that Basil would be in any way 
involved in any political associations. He seemed 
to me only anxious to wash his hands of it en- 
tirely. Then I went on to that young what's-his- 
name who acted as best man^ but he could throw 
no light on it at all. Their acquaintance, he said, 
was of the slightest: business relations in England 
had thrown them together since Basil came to 
London, but of his concerns, political or other, 
abroad, he had not the least knowledge. It was 
simply as belonging to the Orthodox Church he 
was asked to officiate." 

'^ Do you think any sudden business crisis could 
have arisen?" 

" I thought of that, but he scouted the idea ; 
he said the Leonides house was as safe as the 
Bank of England. Besides, his own is so involved 
with it that anything that affected the one must 
touch the other." 



MISSING 29 

*' It is a horrid mystery. Did not someone say 
something about a wire? Couldn't that be 
traced?" 

" Not without an authorisation from the Post- 
master General. All postal conununications are 
confidential." 

" Would it be well to wire to Lady Jane? Can 
she have summoned him ? " 

" Hardly likely. One can but try." 

Sir Henry cast himself down on a hall chair and 
groaned. ^^ God bless my soul 1 What an appall- 
ing thing to have happened I " 

And Charlotte sighed, " Poor Anstace I " 



Ill 

In a world of bustle and change, in the very 
neighbourhood of one of those mushroom towns 
that spring up suddenly nowadays on the sea- 
coast, swallowing up a fishing village, and cover- 
ing miles of surrounding country with half-made 
roads and jerry-built villas, Thurston Towers 
stood as a bulwark against change. Its grounds 
ran down to the clifif edge, and the barbed wire 
with which they were defended on either hand 
against the incursions of the cheap tripper was 
typical of the attitude of the owner: she did not 
merely set herself against change, she ignored it. 

Lady Jane Wellow had been a widow for over 
thirty years, and what she had done day by day at 
sixty she still did at ninety. ' She still breakfasted 
at nine, drove out at three, and dined at half-past 
six; still wrote and did her accounts in the morn- 
ing and worked Berlin cross-stitch for the draw- 
ing-room chairs in the evening. For thirty years 
any invitation to leave home or request to call on 
a new neighbour was met by the same formula, 
'' I am an old woman; I must be excused." And 
now that she was a very old woman she scarcely 
seemed any older than when she first donned the 
widow's cap she still wore. Her hair was yet 
dark with threads of grey in it, only her skin had 

30 



MISSING 31 

grown dry and wrinkled, that was all. She wasted 
little of her remaining strength in talking: the 
vicar of the parish who dispensed her charities, 
her maid, and her ancient butler were the only 
people who ever heard the sound of her voice, 
which had an unused, inward tone. 

It seemed strange that into so monotonous a life 
so romantic a personality as a little Greek grand- 
son to educate should have intruded itself and 
made so little change. It was understood that 
the marriage of her only child to a Greek a little 
before the time of her husband's death had been 
a vexation to her, but she was not a person to talk 
about her affairs, and it only leaked out a few 
years later that the daughter had died bringing a 
son into the world While her son-in-law lived 
she made no attempt to see the child, but on his 
father's death he was sent to England, being then 
about ten years old. His grandmother and her 
friend the vicar did their best to make an Eng- 
lish boy of him; he had a pony which he loved, 
and a tutor whom he hated, and he was made — 
to his deep wrath — ^to pronounce Greek after the 
fashion which Erasmus and the English scholars 
of the Renaissance excogitated, but he was left in 
the main to follow his own life of dreams. His 
grandmother was always kind to him, but the 
distance between them both of years and point of 
view was too great; they could not hear each 
other speak. While he was still but a lad his 
Greek uncle wrote for him to go out to the Levant 



32 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

to be trained with a view to succeeding to his 
business, he being childless, and the boy went will- 
ingly enough. As to the grandmother, his presence 
had counted for so little in her ordered life, his 
absence counted for still less. Since then his visits 
had been few and far between. His engagement 
to Miss Westwood had been duly announced and 
met with tepid approval. " Oh, I know the West- 
woods well enough," she said to the vicar; 
"worthy people. The old General — Henry's 
uncle — ^was a very able man, and so was Sir 
Oliver, but I always thought young Henry a 
fool." She put the invitation card into the waste- 
paper basket and sent a handsome cheque. Also 
an invitation amounting to a command to Basil to 
bring the bride and present her before sailing for 
the island of Amygdala. 

Lady Jane had just gone into the drawing-room 
after her dinner on the wedding day and settled 
herself in her accustomed high-backed chair in 
front of her embroidery frame, when the butler 
approached her. She finished threading h^r needle 
with purple worsted before she looked up, and 
seeing an orange-coloured envelope on the large 
silver salver, she sniffed contemptuously. 

"This is to announce the wedding, I suppose; 
a very silly custom. It was to happen, and I con- 
clude it has happened. I could have waited very 
well for a letter." 

She opened it delicately with a small ivory 
paper-knife, and read the few words slowly. The 



MISSING 33 

man had lingered to put coals on the fire: he 
would like to convey to the servants' hall the 
news that the young master's health might be 
drunk. 

" What is this? " She took ofiF her glasses and 
wiped them, then read the message again. " There 
must be some mistake here. Read this out to me, 
Burnet." 

Much excited the old man approached the lamp 
and read with slow emphasis, '^ Is anything the 
matter at Thurston? Have you summoned your 
grandson ? Westwood." 

Mistress and man looked at each other. 

" What can be the meaning of it? " 

"Ma'am?" 

" What does it mean? Speak." 

" It would appear, ma'am " — Burnet spoke 
with great deliberation — " it would appear that 
they think the Count is here." 

" So it seems to me ; therefore he cannot be 
there, and the wedding cannot have taken place." 

Dead silence for a minute; old people think 
slowly. The butler laid the telegram down on the 
little stand at his mistress's elbow among the col- 
oured wools, and waited to be dismissed. She put 
on her spectacles again and read through the 
despatch once more, but it was inscrutable, no fur- 
ther light would it yield. 

" Get the Bradshaw," was Lady Jane's next 
command. " Look me out a morning train to 
town, order the carriage, and desire Mrs. Milton 



34 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

to pack my things and be ready to accompany me ; 

I shall require you also." 

• • • • • 

There is always a reaction after a wedding; a 
sense of weariness, flatness, and desasuvrement 
takes possession of the household; the servants 
are late, the room where the presents were dis- 
played is in a litter of boxes and tissue paper, 
breakfast looks unnatural because after yester- 
day's reception the dining-room has not recov- 
ered its normal contour; there are too many 
flowers about and they are too heavily scented; 
the hall is encumbered with the portmanteaux of 
departing guests. But surely never was morrow 
of wedding so strange as that which dawned for 
Anstace Leonides. To find herself among the 
things left, part of the debris of her own wedding, 
was an experience without precedent. 

It was this lack of precedent which made the 
most trying feature of the situation both to Sir 
Henry and to Charlotte in their several ways: to 
the former especially, who was a creature of con- 
ventionality. There were no rules made and pro- 
vided for such a case as this that he knew of, and 
he was completely off the rails. He ran about all 
day in a state of pitiable fuss, torn between the 
desire to ask advice and an equally strong desire 
to keep the affair, in which there seemed to lurk 
an element of the humiliating, possibly of the ludi- 
crous, as quiet as might be. He scolded Char- 
lotte, raved at the servants, and snubbed the un- 



MISSING 35 

happy guests, who hastened to remove themselves 
with all convenient speed. He would have scolded 
the forlorn bride, too, could he have got at her, 
but Charlotte kept her in her room. It was an 
additional offence in Anstace that she seemed quite 
well. Had she been fainting, hysterical, prostrate 
with headache, her step-mother would have 
nursed her devotedly, and her father would have 
felt she was doing the proper thing under the 
circumstances; but both were sincerely shocked 
when Charlotte went up to her the last thing to 
find her apparently asleep; it seemed to show an 
extraordinary callousness. The truth was that 
Anstace was not only wearied out bodily by the 
long ceremonial of the day, and mentally by the 
endless suspense, but simply stunned by what had 
befallen her, and was no sooner laid on her bed 
than she sank into a heavy, trance-like stupor. Of 
her waking in the dead, small hours to the realisa- 
tion that this — this was her wedding night, of the 
shuddering horror of what news the morning 
might bring, as she lay counting the clocks, no 
one knew. 

One singular effect the shock and suspense had 
on her. The maid who brought her early cup of 
tea exclaimed in surprise as she turned round 
after drawing up the blind, *' Why, Miss Anstace, 
what have you done to your hair? " 

" Why, what is the matter with it? " she said, 
putting up her hand. It would not have been 
wonderful if she had forgotten to take down the 



36 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

coils last night, but the children's nurse had un- 
dressed her, she remembered, and brushed it out, 
and it lay in the usual thick plait down her 
back. 

The maid looked oddly at her. **Oh, I sup- 
pose it was the light, miss,'' and hastily withdrew, 
unconscious how her ** Miss Anstace " had stung 
the deserted bride. 

Then came Charlotte. " Why, Anstace I " she 
began, a sudden surprise scattering her carefully 
prepared phrases of condolence, and then stopped 
short. 

" What Is it ? " cried Anstace ; " why do you all 
look at me so strangely ? Have you news ? Don't 
keep me in suspense whatever it is." 

"No, none yet. It was your hair that startled 
me.' Look." 

She brought the hand-glass; Anstace took it, 
and as she gazed into it at her pale reflection she 
almost thought she saw a ghost. The sweep of 
hair above her left temple was snow-white, the 
whole faded to a greyish tinge except just the tips, 
which were still brown. 

" It is no wonder," she said ruefully, "but how 
queer he will think it when he comes back ; will he 
mind? I wonder." 

" Mind I " cried Charlotte, with a choke. " It 
is his own doing. Oh, you poor darling 1 " 

Anstace was more than willing to stay upstairs, 
as Charlotte advised, though she said she felt 
quite well ; she shrank from comments on her hair, 



MISSING 37 

on her looks, from question and condolence ; but 
there was no use In lying in bed, so she dressed 
and sat all day by the window, unoccupied, mo- 
tionless, listening for the postman's rap, for the 
loud ring of the telegraph boy, for news. And 
the day ripened and waned, and no news came. 
Charlotte offered to come and sit with her, but 
she said she would rather be alone. 

Late in the afternoon, when the last of the 
wedding guests had departed and the house 
seemed settling into its normal quiet, a cab was 
heard stopping at the door, and Charlotte flew 
to the window. From the box an ancient man- 
servant in plum-coloured livery was slowly de- 
scending, from the interior emerged an ancient 
waiting-woman, and between them they assisted 
out a still more ancient gentlewoman in a drawn 
satin bonnet and black lace veil of the kind that 
ladies in early Victorian days used to "throw 
back." She got out stiffly and proceeded to mount 
the steps, and Charlotte hastily returned to her 
seat near the fire. She had plenty of time, how- 
ever, to compose herself and wonder whether the 
old lady brought news before she was announced. 

" Lady Jane Wellow." 

The visitor advanced slowly and exchanged 
ceremonious greeting before she opened proceed- 
ings with the question, "Where is my grand- 
son?" 

" That, Lady Jane, is exactly what I was going 
to ask you." 



38 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Charlotte was somewhat taken aback at find- 
ing herself, as it were, arraigned, as though they, 
the bride's family, the injured party, had in some 
mysterious manner spirited the bridegroom away. 
She conducted her visitor to a seat and relieved her 
of her furs. She hardly knew what to say, but 
the old lady was so slow in following up her first 
question that she could not hold her peace. 

" Sir Henry would have written, was going to 
write, only he thought it best first to try what he 
could discover." 

Lady Jane interrupted, " Had they quarrelled, 
he and Miss Westwood? " 

"No, oh, no!" 

" When did she last see him? " pursued the in- 
terlocutor with an exasperating air of conducting 
an official inquiry. 

" Not half an hour before he disappeared, when 
she went to change her dress for the journey." 

" What journey? I don't understand you. " 

"What journey I Why the wedding journey 
of course." 

" You don't mean to say the wedding has taken 
place?" 

" I do." 

At this moment the door opened softly, and 
Anstace stood on the threshold. White, with 
strained, asking eyes, breathing a little quickly, 
but saying no word. She, too, from upstairs, had 
heard the cab stop and witnessed the strange ar- 
rival. Charlotte flew across the room to her. 



MISSING 39 

'* It is Lady Jane," she said; ^' but she has 
brought no news ; she ccHnes to ask, not to tell." 

Anstace said nothing, but all expression passed 
from her face; it was as if that blighting wind 
of yesterday swept across it. 

"Will you come and speak to her?" pursued 
Charlotte in a hurried whisper, " or would you 
rather not?" 

" Come here," said the imperious, husky voice 
from the sofa. " So you are already my grand- 
daughter, I suppose?" 

Anstace came forward and took coldly the cold, 
stiff, aged fingers held out to her. The conven- 
tional kiss of new relationship neither the old 
nor the young woman offered. Nor did Anstace 
sit ; she remained standing by the mantlepiece, one 
hand resting upon it. She, like Charlotte, had the 
feeling of being arraigned before those dim, watery 
eyes. 

The old lady put up her gold-rimmed eyeglasses 
and looked her well over, but Anstace's armour 
was complete ; she bore the scrutiny without flinch- 
ing. She had not given way, she had not wept, she 
simply waited. Through all her thirty years' se- 
clusion Lady Jane had not lost the art of judging 
character. " This is no light, fast woman to draw 
a man on and then disgust him," was her judgment, 
" nor is she of such alluring beauty as to fire the 
passions and then madden with jealousy; this is 
the type of woman whom, if a man loves, he loves 
well and does not leave. This is no doing of hers." 



40 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Silently the examination was conducted, silently 
judgment was passed; no word was spoken, but 
Anstace knew herself acquitted. She moved. 

*' Stay a moment. Had you any reason to think 
that my grandson was implicated in any political 
schemes, secret societies, or the like? " 

" None ; we never spoke of politics." 

" Had you and he any difference, any misunder- 
standing ? " 

" None." 

" Had he ever given you any cause for jealousy 
or suspicion ? " 

" Never." Anstace straightened herself. " I 
decline to be cr6ss-examined any further," she 
said. "My father is out just now; if you will 
wait a little he will satisfy your curiosity as far 
as he is able." 

Very quietly she went away, and Lady Jane, fol- 
lowing her with her eyes, said to herself, as 
Charlotte had said the day before, "Anstace 
knows." 

But Anstace did not know, and to her own heart 
she said, " Basil is dead : if he were in life he must 
have come back." 

The old lady rose and began to fumble with 
trembling fingers at her furs. " I am surprised," 
she said; " she is so unlike what I had anticipated; 
I fancied her quite a girl." 

" She is but five-and-twenty," answered Char- 
lotte. "You were looking at her hair; yesterday 
It was brown : that is your grandson's work." 



MISSING 41 

" Will you kindly ring for my maid. I should 
like to return to my hotel. I am a very old woman 
and rarely leave home. The journey has shaken 
me a good deal.'* 

" Will you not stay and see Sir Henry? I ex- 
pect him back any minute. At least you will let 
me order tea— or a glass of wine? " 

" Not anything, I thank you. If Sir Henry 
will have the goodness to call on me, that is my 
address," laying a card on the table. *' Kindly 
let my maid be summoned." 

Very feeble and tottery she looked as the two 
old servants bore her away between them, like an 
ancient doll too long shut up from the light. 

Sir Henry's visit was productive of no light on 
either side. " Between ourselves, my dear," he 
said to his wife, '' the old lady is getting a bit 
dotty, but I should not like it to get about, for she 
made a very handsome proposal that, should this 
matter turn out as it may, she would settle Thurs- 
ton Towers upon Anstace, maid, wife, or widow, 
as the case may be." 

The conviction that Leonides indeed was dead 
began to grow upon all concerned. Rare as such 
things are in these days, mysterious crimes are 
sometimes heard of; of a man decoyed out and 
secretly made away with, and all trace obliterated. 
From the wedding feast Basil Leonides seemed to 
have stepped out through the unused back entrance 
right into the waters of oblivion. 

One blank, barren day succeeded another; at 



42 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

last, when Anstace had got into a strange, numb 
condition, feeling that life had always been sus- 
pended in listening and watching and always would 
be. Sir Henry came into the room, rubbing his 
hands with every sign of satisfaction. 

" News at last, my dear; I think we have run 
him to earth. A report has just come of a tall, 
foreign-looking gentleman, who sailed from South- 
ampton on the evening of the third, landed at a 
small, unfrequented harbour on the Cornish coast, 
and was* there picked up by a yacht. If there 
could still have been any doubt, the Delphine was 
wired for and put out from Falmouth the day be- 
fore. We shall have every port in the archipelago 
watched." 

Anstace sprang to her feet, and for the first 
time since Basil's disappearance colour flashed into 
her cheek. " You shall not," she cried; " if Basil 
went away voluntarily neither I nor mine shall 
bring him back. If you find him against his will, 
I warn you, you will lose me and never find me 
again." 

Sir Henry's face fell, and he stood dumb- 
founded. To his shallow nature it seemed that 
tracing the fugitive was all; he had for the mo- 
ment lost sight of the infinite and complicated 
difficulties that lay beyond; the way that Anstace 
took his news brought him up short. 

" It is a very awkward business, deuced awk- 
ward," he murmured. " At any rate, I am bound 
to communicate this to Lady Jane if the detective 



MISSING 43 

has not done so already — ^but she left it in my 
hands." 

*^Yes, I suppose so; his grandmother has a 
right to know. If she chooses to trace him that 
is her affair, but it shall be none of ours." 

So word was sent to Thurston Towers, but the 
letter crossed a solemn communication from her 
ladyship's butler. His mistress had been stricken 
with paralysis soon after her return home; mind 
and speedi were gone. Had she continued in her 
wonted round she might have Kved to be a hun- 
dred; the shock, the journey, the excitement had 
been too much for her; like a mummy exposed to 
the air, her strength had crumbled away. She 
could not, the Westwoods would not, seek the lost 
man; it seemed quite likely Basil Leonides would 
never be found. 

" So he is not dead," Anstace said to herself. 
Not bound, not forced, he had walked away out 
of the house, out of the country, no man compel- 
ling him. Presently she slipped out of her chair, 
and lay prone along the hearthrug. 



BOOK II 



THE SILENCE 



" If only I were illl " that had come to be the 
burthen of Anstace's complaint as morning after 
morning the longed-for daylight came to her eyes, 
strained with staring throu^ the dark, and 
brought with it only the desire for the weary day 
to be over. Hateful as the night had been, it 
almost seemed as if it might be more tolerable to 
lie there with her face to the wall than to get up 
and dress and curl her hair, to go downstairs to 
the family breakfast table to meet anxious and 
sympathising looks, and to try and take up again 
all those futile little interests and occupations that 
she thought she had taken leave of for ever. 

Nothing could have been kinder than Charlotte, 
or than Charlotte's young brothers and sisters, who 
were swarming in and out at all hours, to try and 
distract and cheer her, or, as she imgratefully felt, 
to see how she was bearing it. "If they would 
but let me be I '* was her continual moan, and yet 
the solitary hours were as bad, for she could not 
read, and dared not let herself think. 

Stte was appalled at herself for the feeling that 
came after the momentary relief of knowing that 
Basil was alive and safe; a feeling that w^uld have 

45 



46 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

voiced itself if she would have let it, " Better 
dead than that he should have done this thing." 
Could it, indeed, be that her Basil, whom she had 
thought she knew so well, was but a delusion, and 
in his place was a man, evil, inscrutable, strange 
to her, with dark places in his life into which her 
eyes had never looked? And the eternal, un- 
answerable why? why? why? kept on. If some 
strange revulsion had come to him, and he no 
longer loved her, why had he not forsaken her 
before? Why had he chosen to stand with her 
before the altar of God, and taken her with the 
most solemn vows, only to leave her? It was in- 
credible ; it could not be true that he had been seen ; 
he must surely be dead. She could not insult him 
by believing otherwise. 

Hour after hour the unending panorama of the 
last three months was unrolled before her aching 
mental vision; things sweet and bitter, like the 
Roll of the Book ; infinitely sweet in the enjoyment, 
bitter as gall in the recollection ; not only with the 
bitterness of good things past and for ever lost, 
but with the torturing question put to herself, ar- 
raigned as a criminal before the bar of her own 
judgment, "What did I do? What did I say? 
How did I show myself odious that he could thus 
cast me aside? Did I love him too well? They 
say that you should never let a man know that you 
love him : they care nothing for what is won ; all 
the preciousness for them lies in the pursuit." 

Oh, to have those past days back I Those radi- 



THE SILENCE 47 

ant June mornings in the Mediterranean, those 
hushed, moonlit nights when the vessel sped 
through the dark sapphire sea, when she and Basil 
paced the deck side by side, unveiling their inmost 
thoughts to one another as, on the solid earth, in 
the daylight, they could never have done, and 
she had yielded, she hardly knew how, to a com- 
pelling seduction, the like of which she had never 
known before. Why had she not withdrawn her- 
self, repulsed him, made him wait, practised the 
arts of coquetry with which other women enhance 
their charm? Yet she knew in her soul she 
wronged herself. She had loved him ; she had let 
him at times have glimpses how deeply, yet never 
for a moment had she parted with her woman's 
panoply of modesty and reserve; it would have 
been contrary to her very nature. 

And surely since, through the brief, hurried 
months of their engagement, he had not been suf- 
fered to enjoy too much of her company. There 
had been so much to do, such strange, absorbing 
things to think of; her time had been engrossed 
between the instructions in the ancient doctrine, 
previous to her reception into the Orthodox Com- 
munion, and the inevitable chifons which a smart 
wedding involves. In town, in the midst of her 
family, such intercourse as they had enjoyed on 
board ship was not to be hoped for, and he had 
grumblingly submitted, looking for the time when 
they should be away together and she should be 
wholly his. 



48 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Beyond these cruel questionings of the past 
stood the blank, hopeless outlook; the door 
slammed in her face as her foot was on the thresh- 
old, the cup dashed from her lips ere she could 
sip it. A widow before she had been a wife, her 
loss was utter, more desolating than theirs who 
have had and lost. 

There was not enough of the new woman in 
Anstace to make her indifferent to marriage in the 
abstract. True she had hitherto shown herself 
hard to please, because the few men who 
had made approaches had failed to evoke a re- 
sponse. Good to dance with, pleasant to talk to, 
they had not found the key of the citadel ; but this 
man, across the barriers of race and religion, had 
reached a hand, and straightway she had known 
him for her mate. It had* come to her like the 
fulfilling of her life, empty till now, though 
crowded with unsatisfying futilities. And now the 
tide that was bearing her out had cast her up again 
upon a barren shore. 

Charlotte had asked her if she would not like 
to go away for a little, abroad perhaps, till people 
had forgotten ; she herself would be willing to go 
with her wherever she liked, leaving one of her 
own sisters in charge of the babies : or one of them 
would go with her if she preferred it. She shook 
her head wearily. What would be the use? Where 
could she go? Italy? Switzerland? Egypt? 
They were all part of her world; wherever she 
went she would meet sympathising, scrutinising 



THE SILENCE 49 

eyes of people who were sorry for her, or cold, 
hard eyes of people who wondered what kind of 
woman it could be who had been so treated. Why, 
as she said to herself with bitter sarcasm, she did 
not even know who she was. If she could but get 
out of the world. 

Out of the world: the phrase recalled to her a 
summer day of long ago. Memory painted a broad 
stony hilltop, clothed with gorse and crowned 
with a low, white coastguard station and a low 
grey chapel on a hillock, a blue sea sweeping round 
the headland on three sides, a blue sky bending 
above; hardly another dwelling visible save a 
gaunt, grey farmhouse or two cowering against 
the hillside. 

" You are out of the world here, Jenny," she 
had said to the old nurse she had come to visit. 
*^ When I am tired of life I shall come and stay 
with you." 

" So you shall, Miss Nan, whenever ydu like; 
but it's that lonesome I don't expect you'd bide 
long." 

Yes, there was the one low door that was open 
to her, the one soul in the world in whose lap she 
could hide her head, whose sympathy would not 
scorch her. Even in baby days, when her mother 
was alive, it was Jenny to whom broken dolls were 
taken, and Jenny's bosom into which sorrows were 
poured. Mother was apt to have on a dress which 
must not be tumbled, and besides there were gen- 
erally visitors when Anstace and her little brother 



so THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

went down to the drawing-room in their white 
frocks after tea, so if tragedies occurred the chil- 
dren were promptly removed. 

Anstace had been eleven and Will eight years 
old when the beloved Jenny, after trying his 
patience to the uttermost, had at length wedded 
her sailor-man, and Jenny's seven years' love 
affair had been the romance of " Miss Nan's " 
little life. It used to be her delight to waylay the 
letters and carry up to the nursery the precious 
foreign missive that always put Jenny into an an- 
gelic temper for the rest of the day. She took the 
keenest interest, too, in the successive photographs 
which arrived, and her triumph was hardly less 
than Jenny's own when the series culminated in 
one in the uniform of a petty officer, little thinking 
that the attainment of this dignity would result 
to her in the loss of her best friend. She loved 
the unseen William Goodge devotedly : who could 
but love the donor of the spotted shells, the 
branchy pieces of coral, the weird and wonderful 
baskets that adorned the nursery? She would not 
have grudged him any of her treasures, save only 
Jenny herself, and that, it appeared, was the only 
one that would content him. 

Vividly she recalled the last nursery tea before 
the wedding, the table spread with all the delicacies 
which Jenny's strict sense of nursery decorum usu- 
ally only permitted in times of affliction when the 
best doll was broken, or Master Will had to go to 
school the next day. So hot-buttered toast, straw- 



THE SILENCE 51 

berry jam, and Cornish cream all partook some- 
what of the flavour of impending sorrow— to the 
girl at least; the boy did not look beyond the 
feast. 

At Its conclusion Sir Henry entered; a most 
unusual visitor in those upper regions which were 
devoted to children and servants. He had come 
to take a condescending and affable farewell of the 
faithful creature who had mothered his children 
so far on their orphaned road, and whose services 
he thoroughly appreciated. Jenny had been on 
the brink of tears all day, and was so touched by 
this unusual graciousness that she fairly broke 
down. 

*' Oh, sir," she said in a voice choked by emo- 
tion, " I don't know how I ever could have thought 
to leave them, pretty dears. I'll write to William 
to-night and tell him it can't be ; he must wait till 
my young lady is grown up. 'Tis but to unpack 
my boxes after all." 

But to show heart was the sure way to check 
Sir Henry's, as his children had learned. " My 
good woman," said he, " pray command yourself. 
This is folly. You have been an excellent servant, 
more, you have been a good friend to my children, 
for which I thank you ; but the time has come for 
other arrangements; both Miss Anstace and Mas- 
ter Will will now go to boarding-schools; they will 
no longer require the attendance of a maid. In- 
deed, had it been otherwise," with a smile that he 
intended to be very gracious, '^ I could not have 



52 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

» 

permitted such a sacrifice on your part. William 
Goodge is a very respectable man and has attained 
to a very respectable position in which he can sup- 
port a wife in comfort. You cannot expect him to 
wait for ever." 

Jenny's tears were dried or swallowed, and she 
accepted with a silent curtsey the hand Sir Henry 
graciously extended. 

That had been the end; no correspondence was 
kept up, whether because the children forgot to 
write to their old nurse or because Sir Henry dis- 
couraged it, Anstace could not recollect, but cer- 
tainly her father had been very much annoyed 
when it transpired that Jenny's sea stories, and the 
chance that he bore the same name as their hero, 
had fired in Will a passion for the sea which noth- 
ing would turn. Sir Henry had had quite other 
views for his son, but fearing lest opposition would 
only issue in his taking his own way when it was 
too late to do it advantageously, unwillingly ac- 
quiesced in the Britannia instead of a public school, 
and young Will, now on the China station, had so 
far shown no signs of repentance. 

A few years ago Anstace, yachting with some 
friends, and putting into Stonedge Bay one sum- 
mer Sunday, had recalled a rumour that her old 
nurse's husband had been appointed chief officer of 
the Coastguard Station at St. Rock's Head, some 
ten miles off, and drove across the hills to find her. 
Standing in Jenny's best parlour, admiring her 
treasures, laughing over the ancient photograph 



THE SILENCE 53 

of herself with her best-beloved doll and of Will 
in petticoats and little socks, recognising the well- 
remembered coral and the Maltese basket, she 
had declared she must come and stay with Jenny 
some day. In the midst of the whirl of busy idle- 
ness that made up her life there seemed something 
restful about this remoteness, and the memory of 
it came back to her nowi with the promise, if not 
of healing, of security from the constant jars 
which kept her wound open. To be where no one 
knew, that would be In itself a measure of peace, 
and there she might stay hidden till the explanation 
came. 

Her resolution taken, she sped downstairs and 
sought her father in his study. Intercourse be- 
tween them had been strained these last weeks; 
he was kind in word, but she felt he looked 
at her with alien, resentful eyes; she was an em- 
bodiment to him of the things he most disapproved 
in his womankind ; she had made herself and him, 
however innocently on her part, conspicuous, and 
objects of pity. That a public slight should have 
been cast upon him and his family, that his daugh- 
ter should have been thrown back upon his hands, 
had in it a touch of the ludicrous, the squalid, and 
infuriated a man for whom dignity and the defer- 
ence of neighbours were the most real and precious 
things of life. These things bulked with him 
much more largely than the fear lest his daughter's 
heart were broken, and the impossibility of giving 
utterance to his feelings made them rankle the 



54 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

more. He looked up as she entered with an an- 
noyed air. 

" Father, I want to go away from home for a 
little; can I?" 

" Of course; it is the very thing Charlotte has 
been trying to persuade you to do for weeks past. 
I have no objection to letting you have a month or 
six weeks at the Italian lakes or the Riviera, but 
after all these most annoying and useless expenses 
I can't afford more; neither could I spare Char- 
lotte longer. By that time I should hope this 
odious business will have passed from people's 
minds." 

" Thank you, but that is not what I mean ; it 
would be just as horrid there, everybody goes 
there; besides I don't want to drag poor Char- 
lotte away from you and the babies. I want you 
to let me go by myself to a place of my own 
choosing." 

He looked up sharply from his writing table. 
" Why, what do you want to do ? " 

" Can't I go without saying? I just want to be 
lost for a little while." 

Sir Henry detested anything melodramatic. He 
wheeled his chair round and faced his daughter. 
'' I should have thought there had been mystery 
and scandal enough about this business already," 
he said drily. 

Anstace was not the woman to appeal for pity. 

" You must see for yourself," she said, " that 
I cannot possibly go on like this. Charlotte tells 



THE SILENCE 55 

me to try and exert myself and go about as usual. 
How can I, when I don't even know what to call 
myself? I could not after that day go back to 
being Miss Westwood, and I certainly will never 
call myself Countess Leoliides till Basil comes 
back." 

Sir Henry gave a har^ laugh. " So, when I 
am asked what has become of my daughter, I am 
to say she is lost, too." 

Somehow her father's hardness and injustice 
braced Anstace as all Charlotte's pitying kindness 
failed to do. 

'^ I see," she said after a moment, " it would not 
do for you not to know where I was> but will you 
keep it from everybody else? This is my plan: 
Do you remember our old nurse, Jenny Goodge? 
She lives at a little coastguard station not far from 
Stonedge ; I don't see why I should not go to her 
for a while. I should be out of the world there 
at any rate, and you would know I was quite safe. 
I don't see why anybody else need know; it is no- 
body's business. I don't want any letters nor to 
write any. I will just send a postcard from time 
to time to say all well, and will you do the same? " 

" Upon my word, Anstace, I believe it is the 
very best thing you can do," said Sir Henry, quite 
relieved at the prospect of disposing of the de- 
serted bride. " I have no objection; I remember 
Jenny very well, a most faithful creature. By the 
way, how am I to address these postcards?" 

Anstace gave a little rueful laugh. One of the 



56 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

many minor oddities of her position was that her 
correspondence had entirely ceased : apparently be- 
cause of the initial impossibility of knowing how 
to address the envelope quite as much as from the 
difficulty of knowing what sort of condc^ence to 
offer in so unprecedented a dilemma. ** I think," 
she said, after a moment's reflection, *^ I had best 
take my second name for present use; it might 
pass very well for a surname. Call me Mrs. 
Claude." 

" Very good. And about money, have you 
sufficient? " 

" Plenty for the present; you gave me my pin- 
money, you remember, just before " 

^' True ; no doubt it will last as long as your 
freak, but you must be careful with it because in 
the extraordinary position of affairs your money 
is tied up in settlement. Unluckily Lady Jane's 
generous intentions as regarded you were frus- 
trated by her sudden illness. How that may be in 
the end I can't tell. As regards your own money 
I am afraid there will be endless formalities, and 
if we are not to seek Leonides it beats me how we 
are to get them unravelled." 

" Oh, what does it matter about the money? " 
she cried, and turned to go, but paused a moment to 
say, " Don't tell anybody, not even Charlotte, and 
don't let anyone write ; just say I am staying with 
an old friend in the country. Charlotte is going 
to take Mabel to a matinee this afternoon, so I 
shall be able to slip off without any good-byes and 



THE SILENCE 57 

you can tell her when she gets back. Give her my 
love and beg her not to think me unkind/' 

For the first time since the fatal wedding day 
Anstace ran briskly upstairs with a sense of some- 
thing to be done, and spent a busy hour rununaging 
her wardrobe; she even caught herself laughing 
at the poverty-stricken condition in which she 
found herself; it was a parallel to her namelessness. 
The big trunks and hatboxes of the Countess 
Leonides had all been consigned to the obscurity 
of the spare bedroom, and nothing of all that store 
of elegance which she and Charlotte had so joy- 
fully collected would she touch; those things all 
belonged to a person who did not exist. Neither 
did Anstace Westwood exist any longer, and most 
of her clothes had been given away either to the 
servants or to the " Poor Clergy," a society in 
which Charlotte took an interest. Out of the poor 
remains she managed at last to furnish a modest 
portmanteau, and had just locked it when the gong 
sounded for the early lunch which the matinee 
involved and which would make her getting away 
much easier. 

" My dear Anstace I " cried Mabel, the eldest 
of the step-aunts, as she took her place at the 
table, " how much better you are looking, isn't 
she. Chatty? Do come this afternoon; it would 
do you good to see Marie Tempest in The Mar^ 
riage of Kitty. She is too delicious for anything. 
There are always returned seats at the last minute ; 
do try for one." 



58 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Anstace shook her head and exchanged a smile 
of intelligence with Sir Henry. She had a saving 
sense of humour, and to elope without a lover and 
with the connivance of her father had in it the 
elements of comedy. 



11 

« 

Over the grey hills swept the grey rain in 
sheets, and the early October dusk was falling. 
The huddled stone houses against the slope looked 
nearly black with damp, and the church tower 
loomed gaunt and grim through the murk. As to 
the sea, it was hardly distinguishable from the low- 
lying clouds. The little station with its asphalted 
platform looked squalid and dripping, and An- 
stace stood somewhat forlorn in a long raincoat 
under an umbrella, superintending the disentang- 
ling of her bicycle and portmanteau from the lug- 
gage van. She was used to travelling with others 
or at the least being met, and she felt at a loss. 

Could this really be Stonedge, this hideous little 
station with its fringe of commonplace red houses ? 
She knew it as yachting people see it, and her 
vision of it was of waking on a summer morning 
in a blue, smiling bay, of landing at a little quay 
among the stone-yards, and strolling up the steep, 
crooked streets in the sunshine, or driving over 
the hills in a jolting wooden box upon wheels 
which was the local idea of a waggonette. This 
jerry-built place was quite strange to her ; however, 
there was its name in large letters, so she followed 
the porter, who shouldered her portmanteau. 

59 



6o THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

"I shall want a fly," she said, hopelessly re- 
garding a row of dejected open cars, each with an 
insufficient square of shiny black waterproof fail- 
ing to cover the seats, and another over the shiver- 
ing horse. 

" There's no flies here, ma'am," said the porter, 
" but," consolingly, " there's a waterproof apron 
to most of these carriages." 

Anstace gave him sixpence and meekly climbed 
into the nearest. " Please to cover over the bi- 
cycle," she said. 

" Then he must stand inside, 'long of you, and 
you'll be able to hold un steady." 

" Where to, ma'am? " asked the driver. " Eh 1 
St. Rock's ? Don't know any house of that name, 
do you ? " to the porter. 

" There's Sandrock Cottage ; perhaps that is 
what the lady means." 

" It is not the name of a house; it's St. Rock's 
Head, where there is a Coastguard Station, some 
way out." 

" Some way out? I should think sol " said the 
driver, preparing to deposit the portmanteau in 
the road again. But Anstace stood her ground and 
altogether refused to descend. 

" 'Tis a matter of eight or ten miles as I should 
judge, and a bad road too," said the porter, en- 
deavouring to mediate. " What you'd ought to 
have done," judicially to Anstace, " was to have 
got out at the junction ; 'tisn't not a deal further, 
and there's cabs there." 



THE SILENCE 6i 

But the past was not to be recalled, and the 
junction cabs now hopelessly out of reach. 

" You'd better ride your bike, and I'll bring the 
portmanteau along in the morning," suggested the 
driver. 

" Much you know about bikes or young ladies," 
said the porter, with a glance at Anstace's slight 
figure. " Why, she'd have to walk pretty nigh all 
the way up them hills, in this wind, too, and wet 
through long before she got there." 

" I'll take you. Miss, I'll take you," cried an- 
other charioteer at this point, driving his rough 
little waggonette and rougher pony close up so 
impetuously that he nearly ran into the handlebar 
of the bicycle, and laying violent hands on the 
portmanteau. Before she well knew what she had 
decided to do, Anstace found herself and her 
belongings hastily transferred, and jogging off, 
pursued by the grumbling protests of driver No. i 
that he would have taken her if she had made it 
worth his while, and she was clearly no lady. 

Anstace was by no means the kind of woman 
who rejoices in going out in all weathers; splashed 
and draggled petticoats affronted her niceness. She 
was used, too, to life in very sheltered ways; to 
look after her own luggage and tussle with un- 
civil drivers was an experience wholly new, yet in 
some mysterious way her spirits rose as the gusts 
round every comer whirled her umbrella almost 
out of her hand and drove the rain in her face, 
reducing her veil to a clammy wisp that she was 



62 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

glad to pull off. Slowly they jolted through the 
stony streets and up the long hill past the church. 
By degrees the town dwindled ; there was a black- 
smith's forge, its cheering glow reflected in the 
splashing puddles, then a few groups of stunted 
cottages where abrupt stony lanes ran steeply up 
to the quarries behind the town, and then came low 
stone walls, fencing a desolate waste. On the left 
hand rose the long grey hill, broken with mounds 
of rough scaur, with huddled sheds and here and 
there a towering crane; on the right the ground 
fell away to the valley swathed in mist. It was 
growing dark and lights began to twinkle in cot- 
tage windows. It was all strangely dreamlike and 
unreal, and Anstace started when the driver, who 
had jumped to the ground, suddenly addressed 
her. 

" S'pose you wouldn't care to walk a little," he 
said suggestively " that there bike o' youm weighs 
down the trap at the back like, and 'tis heavy goin' 
these roads after the rain." 

She looked up ; the pony's rough white coat was 
streaming with wet, and it looked a sorry little 
object. " I don't mind," she said, and bundled 
out straight into a puddle. The boy trudged by 
the pony's head whistling, and Anstace came be- 
hind, but it seemed churlish to plod along in dead 
silence, so she sought about for a suitable remark. 

^' I am afraid you will have a long road to get 
back in the dark." 

" Oh, I lives up yonder." He pointed up the 



THE SILENCE 63 

hill to the right, to what looked like a magnified 
rabbit burrow. 

" It is a long way from the town." 

" My work lays up there ; I works in the quarry 
winter time, and all the summer Polly and me goes 
down town to meet the steamers and trains. It's 
about time we knocked off that job Fm thinkin'; 
if you hadn't a-come we shouldn't ha' took a penny 
to-day. Stonedge ain't a place where there's much 
doing winter." 

"And what does the pony do when you are 
working in the quarry? " 

" Oh, I turns her .out to grass most of the time, 
and now and again she helps with a load down to 
the yards." 

" And can you always get work in the winter? 
Don't the masters mind the men going off for the 
summer to other work? " asked Anstace. 

" We're all masters, or most on us. I'm part 
owner o' that quarry myself ; he belong to me and 
my uncle, and there's a cousin and two second 
cousins in it." 

" How odd 1 Does it answer, having so many 
owners? " 

"Well, 'tis a bit orkerd sometimes, but we've 
ncKie on us got the money to buy the rest out." 

" But I suppose you could sell it to a company 
who would have capital to work it ? " 

He shook his head. " We wouldn't if we could, 
and we couldn't if we would. By the charter we 
can't sell to anyone not a Stonedge man bom, nor 



64 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

even to a basebom man. Nobodv can't hold a 
claim underground but them that's bom to it, but 
we that have hold ; I never knew a Stonedgie man 
yet that cared to part with his own." 

More quarries and more stone walls as the road 
led up and up, and as the light faded little could 
be discerned but the shoulder of the dark hill lift- 
ing itself against the grey sky, broken by the gaunt 
arm of a windlass or the sloped jagged line of a 
stone-roofed shed. At length the white pony 
pulled up unbidden, as though used to resuming 
her burden at the top of the hill, and the driver 
observed laconically, " You can get in now, if 
youVe a mind." 

Then came a long village with a general shop 
at the comer where a flaring lamp showed a scarlet 
postbox, and further on a long, low church 
crouched against the side of the hill. Presently 
the driver got down again and opened a gate, 
leading the trap through, and the jolting of the 
springless vehicle which Anstace had already 
thought sufficiently trying, was exchanged for a 
motion over a grassy track like a ship at sea which 
altemately threw her on the bicycle or the bicycle 
on her, and threatened to dislodge the pormanteau 
altogether. 

It was now quite dark; the sky had grown 
blacker than the hills and swallowed up all dis- 
tinguishing features, and the traveller had come to 
the conclusion that the joumey might go on for- 
ever, like a joumey in a dream, and she did not 



THE SILENCE 65 

much care if it did. She was roused at last by the 
driver's voice : 

" You'll have to get down here ; I can't drive no 
further. You'd best wheel your bike up and send 
down one of the men for the pockmantle ; I can't 
leave my horse." 

Anstance stumbled out and perceived a gate by 
running into it. 

"Up here?" she said; "through this gate? 
But I can't see my way." 

" You follow them white stones, and you'll be 
all right. You can see they, I reckon ? " 

The manner of her charioteer was so decided 
that Anstace felt remonstrance to be useless, and 
meekly took her bicycle as he handed it out to her. 
Wheeling it through the gate and in the direction 
of the nearest white patch that she could discern, 
she found herself on a trodden footway over short 
and extremely wet grass which went obliquely up 
a very steep hill. Now that she was free from the 
rattle of the trap she could hear the long, loud, 
recurrent roar of the sea washing up against the 
foot of the cliff, apparently ahead of her, but so 
long as she could see the little heaps of white 
stones she felt secure against walking over the 
edge. 

Presently lifting her head, she saw a bright light 
gleam over the crest of the hill not many yards in 
front; a flaring lamp shone upon a whitewashed 
wall, beyond which a thin white flagstaff shot up 
into the blackness; then a row of low white cot- 



66 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

tages came into view, each with a flagged path 
shining with wet, leading up to the door through 
little gardens, the bluish cabbages, the late sun- 
flowers, and red fuschias looking theatrical in the 
lamplight. The house at the end jutted forwards 
a foot or so and its two wooden bow-windows in 
the gable end, one above and one below, gave it 
an air of more pretension and distinguished it as 
the residence of the chief officer; so Anstace, hav- 
ing dragged her bicycle with some difficulty 
through the narrow garden gate and into the 
porch, rapped. 

Hardly had she taken her hand from the sub- 
stantial knocker than the door flew open and on 
the threshold stood a man in a souVester, his 
beard and most of his face extinguished in a shiny 
collar which came nearly up to his eyes. 

" Where is she? " he cried, before Anstace could 
frame a question. 

" Here," answered she, bewildered, 
" Why, how in thunder did you come ashore? " 
Aware that her dripping garments more than 
justified the supposition that she had come up out 
of the deep sea, Anstace could not but laugh at the 
whimsical situation, as she tried to explain, but 
her words were lost for her interlocutor, raising 
a lantern he carried, exclaimed, " A bicycle I What 
the h — ^11 Beg pardon, ma'am, step inside, will 
you." 

Steps splashed up the flagged path behind her, 
and a voice over her shoulder cried, " She is past 



THE SILENCE 67 

the second buoy ; she is running under bare poles, 
but she's safe if she can make the Golden Bowl." 

^* All right; FU come up. Go inside, do, ma'am; 
the missis will see to you. Brenda I Brenda! " 

He was oS after the other man, and Anstace 
found herself alone in a narrow entry, scrupulously 
clean, bare of all furniture but two doormats, on 
one of which she stood, reluctant to drip on the 
white boards, and not liking to force her way 
further. 

A voice from an inner door called, " Is anyone 
there ? Come in please." 

She pushed the door which was ajar and met 
the welcome sight of lamp and firelight. On a 
broad, old-fashioned sofa pulled close to the 
hearth lay a small young woman, white^faced and 
dark-eyed, who looked at her with as much sur- 
prise as the man had done, but with a more leis* 
urely contemplation. 

" I wanted Mrs. Goodge; is she in? *' said An- 
stace, looking round and wondering if she were 
really in the same room she remembered on that 
far-o£f summer day, all looked so different. Why, 
where was the coral ? where the spotted shells that 
lay on woolly mats in front of the best tea-tray? 
where was the Maltese basket? All these framed 
photographs and Japanese fans looked quite unlike 
Jenny. 

" Mrs. Goodge? Why, that was the name of 
the people who were here before we came; they 
must have left quite two years. Mr. Goodge is 



68 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

gone on half-pay. I think they went to Cardiff ; he 
had some friends there ; and someone told me not 
long ago that she is dead." 

The room spun round with Anstace ; she put out 
her hand and clutched the edge of the table. 

" I'm so sorry,*' said a voice through the mist; 
"I'd no idea — was she anything to you? I 
wouldn't have spoken so sudden if I'd known." 

" She was my nurse," said Anstace, finding her 
voice with difficulty. " And — ^what can I do ? It 
is so late and wet, and the carriage is halfway back 
to Stonedge." 

" Come and sit down by the fire and dry your 
feet. Why, you look wet through. You'll excuse 
me getting up, and if you didn't mind just giving 
it a poke and setting on the kettle — it is fuD — ^you 
shall have some hot grog in a minute." 

The visitor did as she was bid and then sat 
down, dazed. She spoke no word; there seemed 
no words to be spoken: she had come right up 
against a dead wall in the dark, and there was an 
end of everything. Her hostess broke the silence. 

" If I were you I'd take my shoes and stockings 
right off ; you'll never dry them like that. I don't 
think my husband will be back yet, and if he 
should, you needn't mind him; he's used to that 
sort of thing. When people are shipwrecked they 
don't trouble much about shoes and stockings. 
Why, we had a lady brought in here once in her 
chemise and a fur boa. When you first came in 
I quite thought you had come off a wreck." 



THE SILENCE 69 

"So I have," answered Anstace, "so I have. 
At least, I mean— oh, I don't know what I mean. 
But, really, I only came from Stonedge in a wag- 
gonette, but they made me get out at the gate and 
the grass was so wet.'' 

She stooped as she spoke, and undid the buttons 
of her smart little strap cycling shoes and peeled 
off with some difficulty the sopped embroidered 
stockings. Meanwhile the girl on the sofa had 
managed to reach a big stick that lay near, and was 
rapping loudly on the wall behind her head with it. 

" She thinks I am mad," was Anstace's inward 
comment ; " and I don't wonder. Am I ? Per- 
haps I am." 

In a minute or two the raps were answered by 
the appearance of a broad, wholesome-looking 
woman in. a coarse apron with sleeves tucked up 
over amazingly red arms. 

" Mrs. Clibbet, I am sorry to disturb you so 
late, but I want the sheets aired and the front 
room made ready for this lady ; she is going to stay 
with me the night. Oh, and put a stone bottle 
into the oven to make her bed nice and hot; she 
is wet through. Mr. Bartlemy is up at the Look- 
out and I don't know when he'll be back or I 
wouldn't trouble you." 

" Don't name it, Mrs. Bartlemy; the trouble's 
a pleasure, as the sayin' is. I was in my apem still, 
not being able to put away my own supper things, 
for Clibbet ain't got in yet. There was a ship in 
trouble; they thought they'd 'a' had to get the 



70 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

rocket out, but my boy come down just now and 
says she's past the reef, so we'll get our men in 
soon. And which sheets will you have out ? " 

** The best ones, please, from the back of the 
tc^ shelf in the mahogany wardrobe, and the 
frilly pillowcases. And before you go upstairs get 
the cold pie out of the larder — Bartlemy had but 
just put it away — and the bread and salt and 
things, and put the cloth on again just over the end 
near the fire. I can reach the whiskey myself," 
and she turned round on the sofa to rununage in a 
comer cupboard behind her. 

^' You are good," said Anstace, amazed at the 
quiet matter-of-course of all these hospitable 
preparations for an unknown wayfarer. " But 
please don't trouble; I couldn't think of putting 
you to all this inconvenience. I daresay there's an 
inn or some place near where I could get put up 
when I am just rested and dried a little." 

" It's quite a mile and a half to The Last Out," 
said Mrs. Bartlemy, *^and I wouldn't have you 
go over that wet grass again for anything. I'm 
sure I don't know what my husband would say 
if he came back and found I had turned you out 
on such a night. Please stay. Oh, and your lug- 
gage ? You had some ? " 

*^A portmanteau, and the driver of the trap 
dumped it down somewhere in die dark just by 
a gate, and left it; I don't know how I am to 
get it." 

" Bartlemy will see to it. Ah, there he is I " as 



THE SILENCE 71 

a sound of knocking mud off heavy boots and 
flapping a wet mackintosh was heard in the 
passage. 

" Dearest,'* to the harsh-featured black-bearded 
man who had sworn at the bicycle, if not at An- 
stace herself — " this lady's portmanteau is left at 
the Cellarfield gate.' Can one of the men 
fetch it? " 

^'Not possible to-night. Birdie; I daren't let 
any of the men off duty ; we might need the rocket 
any minute. That bell has been going all the 
evening with messages from Stonedge, from 
Crowsnest, and devil knows where all. It will be 
all right; no doubt he put it in the shed, and she 
shall have it in the morning. You can lend her 
some things, I suppose." 

^* If she wouldn't mind; but you must go and 
get them out. I don't mind Mrs. Clibbet going to 
the linen shelf, but I can't have her rummaging 
my drawers. Now mind, my best nightdress, the 
one at the bottom of the pile, with a lace front 
and pink ribbon, and my white brush and comb — 
I shall use yours to-night — 'and my pink dressing- 
gown. Oh, and Toby, dear, you'll find a piece 
of quite new scented soap in my washstand 
drawer." 

Anstace feebly endeavoured to protest against 
these elaborate preparations, but the strangeness of 
the whole thing, added to the extraordinary weari- 
ness that battling with the wind and rain had 
brought over her, reduced her to a state of limp 



72 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

acquiescence m whatever others proposed, and she 
endeavoured when bidden to turn her attention 
to the supper that was set before her. She tried 
not to make faces over the hot whiskey and water 
and swallowed a little bread and butter, but cold 
pie was in vain, and she thankfully allowed her- 
self to be conducted upstairs, too tired to be even 
faintly amused by the little woman's pride in her 
best things which with true hospitality she had been 
so anxious to lend to her unbidden guest, the im- 
itation lace set off with pink bows, the ivorine 
brush with a silver B, the cotton pillowcase 
trimmed round with frilling, the soap scented with 
" white rose." 

Through the wuther of the wind and the roar 
of the sea Anstance dozed and woke and dozed 
again, haunted with strange dreams in which she 
found herself now struggling in her wedding dress 
through a desolate country in the dark, now look- 
ing down into the interior of a great gloomy 
church from what seemed more like a cliff edge 
than a gallery, for there was no balustrade, and 
she was in mortal fear of plunging over; but 
towards morning she slept soundly. 

" Well, Birdie," said Bartlemy, as he reentered 
the kitchen after conducting the visitor upstairs 
and lighting her candles, " what did you learn 
about this stranger? Whatever can have brought 
her here ? I declare when I saw her stand dripping 
on the flagstones, till I caught sight of the bike, I 
made sure she had somehow come up out of the 



THE SILENCE 73 

sea. But if she hasn't, upon my word I don't see 
what business she is of ours." 

" But, beloved, you wouldn't turn a dog out 
such a night ; I'm sure you wouldn't. And do you 
know I think she is in some trouble. She came to 
ask for Mrs. Goodge ; she told me she was her old 
nurse. Evidendy she had come oflf without writ- 
ing, counting on finding her here, and when I said 
we had heard she was dead I thought she would 
have fainted." 

" Humph, well." 

" What does * humph, well ' mean? " pinching 
his arm and giving it a little shake. 

" I don't know what it means, and that is just 
it. What did she tell you about herself? " 

"Nothing; not so much as her name. But I 
could see she is a real lady." 

" Well, real ladies get into scrapes sometimes. 
I don't want a mystery of that sort in my house. 
Birdie." 

" You men are so suspicious, even nice dear ones 
like you. She had a wedding ring on; I noticed 
that, didn't you?" 

" I suppose we shall learn more about it in the 
morning. You were quite right to give her a 
night's shelter. Now I am going to carry you 
upstairs." 



Ill 

From the heavy morning sleep that follows rest- 
less dreams Anstace was roused by a knocking 
much more decided and emphatic than the house- 
maid at home was wont to bestow on the panels of 
her door. At her drowsy, half-awakened " Come 
in," it was repeated, and a gruff voice inquired, 
" May I bring in your tea, madam? " 

" Please,'* she answered, with a vague memory 
of foreign hotel customs; but it was not till her 
sleepy eyes rested on a tall, stalwart form clad in 
dark blue who, stepping with noiseless, shoeless 
feet, whisked a little round table to her bedside 
with one hand, supporting a daintily prepared tray 
on the outspread palm of the other, that recollec- 
tion of where she was fully came to her, and there- 
with amazement at this delicate attention. 

"The missis always has an early cup of tea 
before I go out ; she thought you would like some. 
She begs you won't rise till you are quite rested. 
Please to ring the handbell when you want your 
hot water; Iris will be in in about half an hour.'' 
And deftly bringing tray and table together in a 
manner that looked like a conjuring trick, he 
vanished. 

For weeks she had longed, almost prayed, to be 
ill, and now at this most unpropitious moment, 
cast on the hospitality of utter strangers, neither 

74 



THE SILENCE 75 

of her own class nor of that in which remuneration 
solves all difficulties, she realised that so heavy a 
cloud of fever and oppression rested on her that 
she was scarcely able to lift her head from the 
pillow to sip the welcome tea. She supposed she 
ought to get up and make some plan for her next 
move, but she got no further than supposition, and 
lay listening to the reverberation of the sea against 
the cliff far below and the occasional scream of a 
sea-gull as he drifted past the window till the sun 
was high, and her only coherent thought was that 
if she must needs go away, someone must come and 
remove her bodily. Presently she became aware 
that somebody was looking at her, and feebly said, 
"Who's there?" 

" Iris, if you please, ma'am," was the answer, 
and she turned her head a little to view a squat 
young person in short frocks and long hair tied 
back with a ribbon, a bib-apron and sleeves rolled 
up to the elbows; in a word the thirteen-year-old 
presentment of Mrs. Clibbet from next door. 

The vision passed across Anstace's eyes like the 
furniture of a dream; she was dimly aware that 
the little maiden was bustling about the room, dus- 
ter in hand, but presently she found herself alone, 
and fancied she had been alone a long time. The 
morning wore on, the sun sloped round and fell 
on the whitewashed side of the window place, 
where it danced like dancing waves till it made her 
giddy to look at it. Her mind was a blank; for 
the first time in many weeks she had woke with- 



^6 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 



¥ 



out thought of Basil, without even recollection of 
her disaster; she recalled it now as some strange 
story she might have read of long ago, but the 
only thing of real importance was to account for 
that wavering dance. It was like the sea : could it 
be the sea? Could the sea be seen from the win- 
dow? Impossible to ascertain, for she seemed to 
be made of lead all over. 

The house was very still; since the small bustle 
created by Iris had ceased, a noonday hush had 
settled over eveything. It would seem that this 
little oasis on the hilltop owned neither children 
nor dogs, or at least the former must be at school 
and the latter asleep. Anstace wished it might 
last for ever; she desired no food, no amusement, 
no change, but bye and bye there was a little stir 
in the house, the muffled sound of stocking feet 
upon the stair, the gentle opening and shutting of 
a neighbouring door, voices talking in an under- 
tone, and at length a tap on her door. 

" Can Mr. Bartlemy come in and bring me to 
see you ? " And upon Anstace's dreamy assent 
followed the Chief Officer, bearing his small, slight 
wife in his arms like a child; he improvised a 
couch out of two chairs on which he placed her, 
saluted Anstace, and withdrew. 

"Your portmanteau has come; I wouldn't let 
the man bring it up because Iris said you were 
asleep, and you were so done-up last night," said 
Mrs. Bartlemy; " I hope your long rest has done 
you good." 



THE SILENCE 77 

Anstace made an effort to pull herself together 
and behave as would be expected of her. 

'* I am so ashamed," she said, " of taking such 
advantage of your hospitality and lying here like 
a log, but I felt so ill when I woke; I seem to have 
a heavy cold upon me, I think I must have taken 
a chill yesterday. I really don^t think I can get 
about to look for lodgings to-day. Could you let 
me take two rooms for a week or so? I daresay 
you have a small sitting-room? " 

" Not to let. I am so sorry, but you know even 
if we could do for a lodger we are not allowed to 
take any at a coastguard station. I am afraid I 
don't know of any rooms nearer than Stonedge; 
Combarrow, that long village you came through, 
is nearly all quarrymen's cottages, very rough. 
The Miss Pinnefeathers take paying guests in a 
house a little the other side, but I believe they are 
fuU." 

Anstace looked vaguely helpless. To lose Jenny, 
on whom all her hopes were pinned, baffled her 
completely, and she felt too ill in mind and body 
to turn to other plans. She answered nothing, and 
Mrs. Bartlemy resumed: 

"If you would stay as my visitor for a little I 
should be only too pleased, only you see the attend- 
ance is very rough ; we don't keep a servant, except 
having Mrs. Clibbet and Iris in and out. Bar- 
tlemy likes to do for me himself; sailors are that 
handy, and you'd be surprised what a lot I can do 
if I have things in my reach." 



78 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" Just for to-day, if you didn't mind ; I couldn't 
think of trespassing on you further; but if I might 
just stay quiet in bed, I don't want anything unless 
it were a little gruel bye and bye." 

" Hadn't you better see the doctor? We can 
telephone for him in a minute." 

^*0h, no, thanks; I don't think doctors are a 
bit of use for a common cold; do you? " 

" I don't know that they are. Well, if it is only 
rest and warmth you want, please stay and take it 
till you feel all right again. I wish I could do 
more for you, but Iris will run upstairs and fetch 
and carry. Have you any letters you want 
posted?" 

" No, thanks." Anstace felt unequal even to 
the promised card, and moreover doubtful what 
she meant to say. 

Her hostess was silent Her mind was full of 
questions, but with wonderful delicacy she forbore 
to put any at present. Anstace lay and watched 
her and wondered at her only less than she herself 
was being wondered at. Mrs. Bartlemy was very 
pretty in a quaint, unusual way ; her small oval face 
looked as if it had been cut out of ivory with 
the delicacy of a cameo, framed in low-growing, 
thickly curling black hair, with dark velvety eyes 
to match ; feet, hands, and ears were tiny and well 
finished, giving an air of refinement in spite of the 
slight cockney accent and manner of speech. 
Shrewd she looked, too, and humorous, but it was 
a better quality that caused her to leave her sad 



THE SILENCE 79 

guest in silence. After a few minutes' veiled scru- 
tiny of each other, the two women averted their 
eyes simultaneously, and with a little laugh Mrs. 
Bartlemy rapped on the floor. 

'^ That's to summon my coach-and-six," she said. 

In a moment Bartlemy reappeared, saluted 
Anstace silently once more, and carried off his 
little wife. 

" Well, Birdie ? " he said, interrogatively, when 
he had presently deposited her softly on the broad 
sofa under the window, and had tucked a shawl 
carefully about her feet and settled a soft pillow 
under her head. 

^^ I suppose you mean what have I learned about 
our visitor? Just simply nothing at all; she volun- 
teered nothing, and I couldn't pump her, she looks 
so miserable. I don't even know her name." 

" Well, I've learned that much, at any rate ; it 
is Claude. There are initials painted on the end 
of the portmanteau, A. C. W., but the name on 
the label is Claude, whether Mrs^or Miss, it don't 
say." 

'* Oh, Mrs., I know, because she has got a wed- 
ding ring on." 

^^ I should like to know who Mr. Claude is, and 
where he is. When is she going? " 

** Not to-day ; she is very seedy ; she has caught 
an awful cold getting so wet. I offered the doctor, 
but she says she wants nothing but gruel and to 
keep warm, so I told her to stay." 
Humph I" 



14 



8o THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" You're not to say * humph ' ; you must say 
IVe done right, Toby." 

" But Fm not sure you have. I don't want to 
get into trouble with Captain Blewitt for taking 
lodgers." 

"Oh, bother Captain Blewitt I But he won't 
come poking his nose for ages yet. And besides 
she is not a lodger; I told her distinctly she 
couldn't be; if she wanted to stay she must stay as 
our guest. We can afford it, Toby." 

" Oh, yes, we can afford it all right, and I don't 
grudge it; it isn't that; but I do hate a mystery." 

"Well, I own there's something rather odd 
about a person dropping on your threshold out of 
the rainy skies like that, without a word, too ; but 
you know I think there's a tragedy as well as a 
mystery; there's a strange look in her eyes. Last 
night I thought she looked hunted, and this morn- 
ing she seems stunned, as if she could hardly re- 
member who she was and didn't much care. Did 
you notice, too, how young she looks to have that 
white hair? " 

Bartlemy whistled. " I only hope she won't go 
off her nut or anything of that sort while she is 
here, that's all. You don't think she can have got 
away from a private asylum, do you ? " 

" Good gracious, no I She is as sane as you or 
me, but I shouldn't wonder if she has had some 
shock, and it seems common mercy to let her be 
till she gets over it a little." 

"Look here, you haven't said anything about 



THE SILENCE 8i 

her to Mrs. Clibbet or Iris, have you? Speculated 
who she could be or why she came? " 

" Not a word ; I had an instinct from the first 
least said was best." 

^' All right, because if she is to stop with us, she 
must seem to belong to us some way, or have some 
reason for visiting us; otherwise she will seem to 
be a lodger, though you should never have a penny- 
piece from, her, and there'll be the devil to pay." 

" Shall I say she is my cousin? " 

"No; I don't like lies." 

" Nor I; I never tell you any; but I don't know 
that there's much harm in a fiction of that sort in 
a good cause. I have itl I shall say she is my 
adopted sister. I can make that quite true, because 
I can adopt her now, can't I ? " 

Bartlemy stooped and kissed her. "You're a 
funny little soul. Say what you like, and do what 
you like — as you always do." 

A day or two later the curate called, and Mrs. 
Bartlemy had an opportunity for testing the effect 
of her kindly little fiction. The visitor had not 
yet left her room, but the bicycle was in evidence 
in the passage and suggested a topic of conversa- 
tion not unwelcome, since with this member of his 
flock the reverend Peter (as he was usually called, 
to distinguish him from his father, the vicar) 
found a difficulty in getting beyond the weather. 
He was young and he was shy, and new to this 
particular line of work. He had gone straight 
from Oxford to his first curacy in one of the over- 



82 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

grown industrial suburbs of London, where he had 
lived in a clergy house, associated with men of his 
own calling, with his work strictly apportioned. 
They specialised very much at St. Matthew's, and 
his line lay chiefly among the lads of the working 
— or loafing— class, the management of guilds, 
seaside camps, evening clubs, and the like, and ex- 
cept in cases of emergency, when his superiors 
happened to be out of the way, what may be called 
'* general practice *' seldom fell to his lot, and the 
dropping into cottages for a chat, which forms so 
large a part of pastoral work in the country, was 
new to him. Strange that it should have been so, 
since his home from boyhood had been in the vil- 
lage of Combarrow, in which parish St. Rock's lay. 
Home though it was, he had been there but lit- 
tle since he went to school at twelve years old, for 
visits to schoolfellows or relations had always been 
arranged for his holidays. So when he came as 
his father's curate he had his way to make, as it 
were, from the beginning. He had shown so great 
an aptitude for London work, so keen an inter- 
est in London problems, so wiry a strength, that 
it was a great disappointment to his rector and 
those he worked with when at the end of his two 
years he laid down all the manifold threads he had 
begun to knit up and betook himself to the small, 
unimportant country cure, where it seemed his 
father, in spite of age and increasing infirmities, 
might well have ministered single-handed to those 
few sheep in the wilderness. Remonstrances were 



THE SILENCE 83 

in vain; he listened silently, respectfully, but of- 
fered no explanation. The general impression was 
that his views must be unsettled, less by Higher 
Criticism than by a leaning Romewards. 

&nall as his sphere was, he had taken it up with 
dogged energy, though he still felt his pastoral 
visits to be a failure. With the quarrymen, that 
taciturn race, shut away among the hills, with 
whom the dock seems to have been put back 
at least half a century, he got on well enough; 
perhaps the mere fact of having been bom 
among them gave him an affinity with them; 
but with the women, especially those of the newer 
type in the shops and the little red houses which 
began to fringe the Stonedge side of the par- 
ish, he seemed to have no meeting-ground. 
And this sailor's wife, so unlike the typical 
sailor's wife of fact, or fiction, this London girl, 
who yet had seen life only out of one narrow win- 
dow, this chronic invalid who laughed off all well- 
meant tenders of conventional consolations with 
dry humour and cynical courage, and showed a 
tolerant aloofness from all forms of religion, baf- 
fled him completely; the more as he was conscious 
that his calling, if not his person, was regarded by 
those bright eyes in a satirical if not an antagonis- 
tic spirit. Since she informed him that she be- 
longed to no religious body, he considered her one 
of his flock and went doggedly on with his visits 
at decent intervals, though to speak to her on 
religious topics was almost beyond his power, that 



84 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

is, in the way he thought he ought ; for theological 
argument she was always alert, acute, and ready, 
well primed with the correspondence on matters 
of faith and doctrine which the daily papers are 
fond of starting in the silly season. The personal 
notes she evaded. 

"A bicycle, Mrs. Bartlemyl" he said, as he 
shook hands with her. '* I suppose you have 
company? " 

'* Yes, it belongs to a friend I have stopping 
here a few days." (It was not part of Brenda's 
code of manners to say sir to the parson.) 

" Does she come from your own home? " 

" Not from my home straight," said Mrs. Bar- 
tlemy, shrewdly perceiving that communicativeness 
would serve her turn best. " She came from Lon- 
don Tuesday; she has been rather unsettled and 
moving about, and I don't know the least how long 
she'll be able to stay." 

" Oh, I hope she'll stay ; it must be so lonesome 
for you here in the winter; very nice for you to 
have a sister to cheer you up." 

" It would be, only she has been in bed ever 
since she came. She arrived in all that rain Tues- 
day night, and caught a horrid cold. This is such 
an awkward place to get at. If only we had known 
the day she was coming," pursued Brenda, hardily, 
" Bartlemy could have met her. Those Stonedge 
traps are so tiresome ; they won't bring you up the 
lane; they just put you out, box and all, at the 
farm gate, and off they go." 



THE SILENCE 85 

" How vexatious for her and you. Would she 
care for any books, do you think? " Books were 
Peter's panacea for all human ills. 

" I daresay she would; they do help to while 
away the time when youVe nothing better to do," 
said Brenda, tolerantly, being herself rather sick 
of them, having had more than time enough to 
read all her life, and little but penny novelettes 
and snippets of journalism coming her way. 

Very soon the curate took his leave. " I won't 
forget the books for — ^your sister, I think you 
said?" 

" Only adopted sister; we're not any relation 
really. I've seen hardly anything of her since she 
married." 

" Oh, is she married? " 

"Yes, but I never saw her husband; he is 
abroad," ventured Brenda, emboldened by success 
and carrying on the game for the pure amusement 
of the thing, as one might make up the dialogue in 
an impromptu charade on the inspiration of the 
moment, and delighted to find how well the literal 
truth served her turn. 

An hour later he reappeared, hot and rather 
breathless from a hasty tramp down to the school- 
house in the village, where the lending library was 
established, bearing a fat parcel of books, which 
he dumped down on the dresser, saying, *' Hope 
your sister will like these. Can't stop," and was 
oS again down the hill, his long legs speedily bear- 
ing him out of sight. 



86 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" He really is very good-natured," was her 
inward comment, as she watched him from the 
window. 

'* May I come In? " said a voice at the door, 
and Brenda finished her reflection with a thanks- 
giving that the curate had been in a hurry. ''If 
they had met without preparation," she said to 
herself, '' where would my little fiction have 
been?" 

She was rather alarmed about her fiction now 
that she could see Anstace properly. Dripping 
and dishevelled from her journey or prostrate in 
bed with loosened hair and overwhelmed with that 
most humiliating malady, a cold in the head, the 
visitor had not seemed imposing; in fact, few peo- 
ple did to Mrs. Bartlemy; but now, wan and lan- 
guid though she looked, moving slowly yet with 
an easy grace, in a perfectly cut tailor-made tweed 
which Iris's care had dried and brushed and a 
little delicate French blouse, there was something 
about Anstace which made the well-meant inven- 
tion appear monstrously presuming. 

"There's a parcel for you on the dresser," 
Brenda said, indicating the big untidy bundle. 

"For me?" said Anstace, doubtfully, looking 
at it. " Why, how did it come? " 

" The cyrate brought it; he was here just now, 
and hearing we had a visitor ill upstairs, he 
thought perhaps you'd like something to read." 

" It was very kind," said Anstace, untying the 
string; then she smiled a little. A bound volume 



THE SILENCE 87 

of the Leisure Hour of some antiquity, The Won- 
ders of Nature, and Queechy were disclosed to 
view. 

**What has he sent you, rubbish?'' asked 
Brenda, reading her face. 

" Well, his tastes seem rather behind the age — 
or he supposes mine are," Anstace answered, with 
a laugh. " Never mind ; I am not sure I should 
not enjoy reading Queechy. Anyhow, he meant 
it kindly." 

" Oh, yes; he's a good-natured soul, is shock- 
headed Peter, as I call him. He raced off down 
to the village, a good mile, in a tearing hurry to 
get them, and was off before I could say thank 
you. But if you really want something to read, 
I have got a sixpenny Master Christian I could 
lend you, or The Eternal City. What, you don't 
care for those ? " 

*' Not much, thanks. Perhaps I am behind the 
age; I am not sure I should not prefer Queechy 
after all. But I don't want to read now; I came 
down to talk to you. I am so ashamed of having 
lain here like a log all these days, trespassing on 
your hospitality, and even now I am afraid I can- 
not march straight off without knowing where I 
could find a room. Will you let me stav till 
to-morrow ? " 

" I certainly will not let you go at all, even to 
look for rooms, till your cold is quite gone, in this 
wild, unsettled weather; I am so pleased to have 
company, I so seldom get a soul to speak to up 



88 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

here. But of course," with a sudden perception of 
distance, '^ I don't mean you should sit here in the 
kitchen, only it is pleasant to see a new face and 
exchange a word now and then. As soon as Iris 
comes in she shall light the parlour fire, and I will 
send your tea in there." 

" Oh, please notl " broke in Anstace. " If I 
am your visitor, do let me be in here with you — 
unless, of course, I should be in Mr. Bartlemy's 
way." 

" Oh, no ; if you are sure you don't mind. The 
parlour is rather dull and cold; we always live in 
here in the winter; it's snugger, and besides it's 
handier for me; I can get things out of the cup- 
board for myself, there is not so much fetching 
and carrying. 

Anstace came nearer to her sofa. '' I am going 
to make a condition with you," she said. " I'll 
stay if you'll let me wait on you and do little 
things; I shall be thankful for the occupation." 

** But you are not used to that sort of thing, I 
can see : you have always had servants to wait on 
you." 

" Because I give so much trouble? I hope not. 
But now, isn't it time your kettle was put on and 
the table laid for tea? Just tell me where to find 
the things and I'll do it." 

" The kettle is full; Bartlemy always fills it for 
me before he goes out and sets it at the side. Just 
rake the fire a little at the bottom and it'll soon 
boil. We always use that little table for tea, be- 



THE SILENCE 89 

cause It can be drawn up close to me. The cups 
and things are in that cupboard/' 

There was no fine-lady helplessness about An- 
stace ; her deft hands soon had everything in place 
and the kettle singing merrily. " Now shall I cut 
the bread and butter? " she said, " or would you 
like some toast ? " 

"Oh, I'll tell you what; we'll make some hot- 
buttered toast for Toby ; he loves it. Give me the 
toasting-fork, and you cut the bread. I can toast 
if you wheel me a shade more round to the fire; 
the couch goes very easy." 

Cosily ensconced each side of the fire, with a 
noble pile of buttered toast growing up between 
them, the momentary shyness which Mrs. Bar- 
tlemy felt for her guest thawed rapidly. 

" Look here," she said, as she deftly turned a 
hot piece of bread without burning her fingers, " I 
have a confession to make to you, and I'm half 
afraid to make it lest you'll be affronted." 

" I am sure I shall not," said Anstace, " what- 
ever it is : you have been so very kind to me. What 
is it?" 

"Well, you know when the curate was here 
just now, and saw your bike, he asked a lot about 
you." 

"Yes? You could not tell him much, I am 
afraid. I was so stupid with fatigue when I came 
and with my cold since ; I must have seemed very 
uncommunicative." 

" But you see, I had. to make something up. 



90 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

We are never allowed to take any lodgers, and the 
Inspector is an odious man ; he is always trying to 
ferret out some blame to Bartlemy, so if I had said 
I had a strange lady here, it would have got about 
directly that I had a lodger." 

** Oh, but please, if that is the case, let me leave 
at once. I could go to the inn at Combarrow. I 
would not for the world get you into any trouble, 
when you have been so good to me/' Anstace broke 
in, eagerly. 

" No, but listen; I had to say something on the 
spur of the moment, so I made out you were a sort 
of relation — an adopted sister, in fact. I am afraid 
it was very silly, but I hope you won't mind." 

*^ Mind? Oh, no, I think it was so kind, 
but " 

*^ And I romanced a lot : I said your husband 
was abroad." 

" That's true," said Anstace, very low. 

" And I thought perhaps," pursued Brenda, 
*' that you had some reason for not caring to be 
asked about your affairs, your coming so sudden 
like that, without knowing whether Mrs. Goodge 
was dead or alive: so as nobody here knows any- 
thing about my friends, if you are supposed to be- 
long to me nobody need ask any questions." 

'^ I can't, at least I would rather not, explain 
exactly why I came in that sudden way, but you 
need not be afraid that there is anything — ^wrong 
about it. I had had a shock, a trouble diat made 
it hard to stay at home, and the only thing I cared 



THE SILENCE .91 

about doing was to come to my old nurse, who I 
knew would be good to me, and stay a little while 
in the country till — ^well, I hardly know till when. 
And when I found she was dead it seemed as if I 
had come to the end of everything." 

" Stay with me a little while, then, just as if we 
had been the Goodges. I shall like to have you. 
Don't you see it will be much the best plan, and 
will seem quite natural? By the way, should you 
mind calling me Brenda before Mrs. Clibbet and 
Iris, or they'll think it odd? " 

" Then you must call me Anstace. And I think 
we may make your kindly fiction true," she added, 
and kissed her; ''you have acted like a sister to 
me. 

Anstace realised that one piece of good fortune 
at least had befallen her, in that coming upon 
strangers she should have lighted on an impul- 
sive, ^romantic girl like Brenda, rather than upon 
the ordinary prudent, inquisitive woman, if she 
wanted to keep her anonymity. To get away from 
herself: that had been her one desire, and here it 
seemed she might attain it better even than if she 
had found Jenny to receive her; for to Jenny and 
her husband her identity could have been no secret. 
But now, by good luck, it seemed she had come as 
near as possible to succeed in losing herself; of all 
her present surroundings not one knew who she 
was; hardly did she know it herself. For the 
moment it seemed to make things easier to bear. 



IVi 

Lost How few of us have any conception what 
that means. Some perhaps can recollect a fright- 
ening experience when a wrong turn in a great 
wood led to utter confusion, and the path seemed 
to repeat itself with bewildering iteration. Or 
worse, wandering across a wide down wrapped in 
a white clinging mist that made the whole world 
seem nothing but a cloud. Looking back to child- 
hood, we can perhaps understand it better. How 
easily a little child gets lost: intent on filling its 
basket with blackberries, it has not noticed that 
the others are out of sight, and the familiar lane 
becomes suddenly strange and terrifying, till de- 
spairing cries recall an elder sister. It is even 
possible to be lost in one's own nursery, and that 
is more terrible still. When the lights are out, a 
nervous child may wake and find itself — ^where? 
having strayed unconsciously from its bed in sleep. 
Such a moment of waking seems to hold a lifetime 
of terror and dismay, but the light and the nurse's 
lap bring swift rescue. 

So much for looking back: how about looking 
on? Who can tell what it means to be lost the 
other side the gateway of the grave ? Worse surely 
a thousandfold than the worm that never dies or 
the fire that never shall be quenched, the unutter- 
able woe of being lost. 

92 



THE SILENCE 93 

Between the two in our little span of sensible, 
grown-up life, in the daylight of knowledge and 
common-sense, how should we be lost ? We know 
our surroundings so well, and our limitations, can 
forecast so accurately the probabilities of to-day 
and to-morrow; our homes and friends are so 
familiar that we are more likely to chafe at monot- 
ony than to shiver in fear. Out of this ordinary, 
commonplace life this perfectly ordinary girl had 
fallen : her life was yet whole in her, and as she 
gathered herself up and stood upon her feet she 
found herself homeless, nameless, her past broken 
off short, her future non-existent, in a word, 
lost. 

She was beginning to look round her and realise 
her position; the numb, stunned condition which 
had followed her wedding day was passing off, and 
she was beginning to think far more actively than 
she had ever found time in her busy, trivial life to 
do before. Sunday morning brought no cusft)mary 
obligation of morning service: one of the many 
anomalies of her strange position was that her 
change of religion had relaxed former obligations, 
and under present conditions imposed no new ones ; 
so she rambled aimlessly about all the morning, 
and after the early dinner, being tired, yet loath to 
stay in the house, went out to sit upon the cliff in 
the sunshine, for the November day was still. 
She did not like, especially on Sunday, when Bar- 
tlemy was more at leisure, to intrude too much 
upon her hosts; they were lovers yet, and she 



94 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

would not irk them by her presence ; besides to see 
them together gave her often so sharp a stab of 
pain she hardly knew how to bear it. She were 
best alone. 

If last week she had for a moment fancied she 
had given her sorrow the slip, it was not long 
before she was undeceived. The utter novelty of 
her surroundings and the deadening effect of ill- 
ness cheated her for a while with the sense of 
having left her old self behind her, and entered 
on a new phase of existence. But one cannot so 
easily be quit either of self or of sorrow; in the 
long silent hours of Sunday the old agonising mys- 
tery was upon her at close grips; unless she laid 
down the body indeed how could she ever escape 
it, and even then might it not pursue her? So 
long as she were herself she must bear about with 
her this unescapable misery. True, she was re- 
lieved of the outward pin-pricks, the inquiries, the 
condolences, the innumerable, nameless perplexi- 
ties which her anomalous, almost unprecedented 
position exposed her to, but possibly that very free- 
dom left her more acutely conscious of the unceas- 
ing inward torture of the unanswerable questions : 
" Why has this happened to me ? What has hap- 
pened? What can it mean ? " 

Stunned as she had been at first, the vacant idle- 
ness of her days had been a rest, but now with 
returning health the torment of unoccupied hours 
increased daily; blank existence was no longer 
possible, but what could she do? Perhaps the 



THE SILENCE 95 

bravest course would be to return home again, to 
face the unbearable, to pick up her dropped maiden 
life once more and try to make for herself a new 
niche in her home; but then nobody wanted hen 
Charlotte, she knew, would receive her warmly, but 
she had her own family and her babies, her full, 
busy life, and would enjoy her winter far better 
chaperoning her young sisters. As to her father, 
Anstace well knew he had hailed her proposed 
absence with manifest relief; there was no blinking 
the fact, the pseudo-bride would be a social embar- 
rassment, not merely the fifth-wheel to the coach, 
but a distinct drag who would be silently wished 
away many a time. Her people were satisfied 
about her, thinking her safe with Jenny Goodge; 
it were far kinder to let them stay under their com- 
fortable delusion. But for herself, when she went 
forth from her present shelter, whither could she 
bend her steps? 

Sitting under the lee of the little chantry, she 
saw herself shut outside of this, too: where did 
she belong? She had left the one fold, the other 
was strange to her and far away. To repudiate it 
and return, as some had expected her to do, was 
impossible to her ; that link she would never volun- 
tarily break, but if she were to find consolation in 
it, she must find it by herself; not only was she 
here quite out of reach of its ministrations, but the 
Archimandrite, who was a Russian, had stood 
aloof, offering neither help nor guidance, possibly 
waiting for her to seek him. 



96 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Yet she had embraced the religion of her in- 
tended husband with entire simplicity. With many, 
such a step would have been the subject of much 
debate and questioning ; not so with her ; it seemed 
natural to her that one in heart, they should be 
one in faith, and nothing in the teaching of the 
Orthodox Church as it was presented to her caused 
her to stumble. In truth, Basil's was the first relig- 
ious influence that had touched her deeply. Until 
this last year she had taken her religion so much 
for granted. She had been brought up in all the 
correct forms of it, instructed in her catechism, 
taken regularly to church, confirmed while at 
school, and passed In Scripture examinations, and 
all the time it had seemed to her a matter for 
women and priests, treated by men with a polite 
deference, as a useful engine of state. The fash- 
ionable London church the Westwoods attended 
was of the kind approved as ** moderate," because 
though people like flowers and lights and music, 
which they consider the correct adjuncts of wor- 
ship, they resent a doctrine that makes demands 
upon them. Anstace was first simply astonished 
to see a man of the type of Count Leonides observ- 
ing rigorously the exacting fasts of his church, then 
drawn by a certain mystical fervour he betrayed 
In his more Intimate talks with her, and by a devo- 
tion which stood to him for patriotism and all high 
virtue, and which would, she felt convinced, have 
made him sooner relinquish her than abate his 
demand that she should join his communion. To 



THE SILENCE 97 

be admitted to a faith by him so ardently believed 
seemed to her no act of secession. 

Musing on these things, she became presently 
aware that people were going into the little chapel 
by twos and threes, or here and there one. She 
thought she had been told that it was only used for 
service in the mornings once a fortnight and would 
not be open to-day; it must have been a mistake. 
Should she go, too? She almost thought she 
would; it would at least be something to do to 
still this gaawing tooth of why? why? that gave 
her no peace. While she hesitated, a priest in a 
berretta and cope emerged from the furthest cot- 
tagot and approached rapidly across the grass, at- 
tended by one small boy in a scarlet cassock and 
short, lace-trimmed surplice. They disappeared 
into the chapel, and she rose and followed. 

A low door under a round Norman arch of 
dog's tooth moulding admitted her to a small, 
square church, supported on a central pillar from 
which sprang heavy ribbed vaulting. It was very 
dim and dark, but the altar was ablaze with tapers, 
and before it swung a red lamp from the roof. 
By the mingled light of these and the fading day- 
light that came through the one deep-set, round- 
topped window a fresco to the north of the altar 
was faintly discernible; damp-stained, scratched 
off in places, it was just possible to make out a 
recumbent figure in a grove of trees, an angel 
stooping from behind, and by his side some animal, 
a small dog, apparently. 



98 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Anstace had never been inside a church since her 
wedding day; if she had thought beforehand she 
would have said she could not have borne it; yet 
presently when from the small congregation rose 
the sweet, strong chant of O salutaris Hostia she 
felt tranquillised, her soul lifted into a place of 
peace. The voices were but few, for only about 
five of the coastguard, with their wives and chil- 
dren and a handful of country-folk, made up the 
worshippers, but the singing was hearty. 

She lingered a little as she came out till the priest 
passed her; she had half a mind to speak to him, 
but he did not seem to see her, though the presence 
of a stranger must needs be observable in that 
remote spot, and she forbore. 

She went indoors, but hearing Bartlemy's voice 
reading to his wife, took her books into the bow- 
windowed best parlour. She realised that though 
it may be possible to drop out of your own place 
in the world, and the waters will soon enough close 
over your head, you cannot drop from the skies 
into someone's else life without displacing the 
atoms and causing a great commotion. She had 
crept, like the poor, denuded hermit-crab, into a 
niche of shelter she had found, but after all it 
was somebody's else shell into which she had 
intruded. 

Presently a tap at the door was followed by 
Bartlemy. He saluted, ever respectful. 

" Ma'am, I came to ask you a favour." 

Anstace looked up questioningly. Could it be 



THE SILENCE 99 

to bring to an end a visit already too much pro- 
longed? Probably. She braced herself to hear. 

" Could you make it convenient to stay on with 
my wife for a few weeks? I have to be away on 
duty for a while, leaving Doddridge in command 
here. I start in about a week's time, and I may 
> be absent a month or more. Of course I can't take 
my wife, and I can't leave her in the house by 
herself; you'd be doing her a real kindness by 
stopping." 

"Why, Mr. Bartlemy," cried Anstace, "you 
couldn't have proposed anything nicer for me; I 
shall be only too pleased. I felt I had trespassed 
far too long on your hospitality, but if I can be of 
any use, I'll gladly stay." 

" 'Tlsn't that I want you to do anything, ma'am, 
you understand; I shouldn't take the liberty; Mrs. 
Clibbet and Iris will come in and do all the work. 
'Tis only to be company like for the missis." 

Thankfully Anstace recognised that there is 
always just one step ahead that one can take : there 
was a little opening in her blank wall; true, she 
could not see many yards beyond it, but that she 
must leave. 

" Oh, Mr. Bartlemy," she said, as he was turn- 
ing to leave the room, " do tell me about that little 
chapel; I thought you said there was a Church of 
England service there alternate Sundays, and this 
afternoon there was a Catholic priest there and 
Benediction. I thought from what you said it 
belonged to the parish." 



loo THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

"No, It don't belong to the parish; it's private 
property; it's a queer job, it belongs to Squire 
Clyne at Binamy. He's a rum un; a bit touched 
in the upper storey, some say. The Clynes was 
always Catholics time out of mind, and the Squire 
he keeps his chaplain up at Binamy same as his 
fathers did before him, but he has his own notiqns, 
and he lends the old chapel to the Protestants and 
the Catholics, turn and turn about. So once a fort- 
night the Reverend Peter comes up early and gives 
us a short service before he goes down to the parish 
church to help the old gentleman. More'n half 
my men is Catholics, Irishmen some of 'em, or 
been on Irish stations where it's pretty much that 
or nothing, so it's sort o' convenient. I don't doubt 
the Father would like to have it to himself, but 
'tis take it or leave it with the Squire." 

Strange to find this lonely hilltop the meeting- 
ground of two forms of faith, with no doubt plenty 
of variants of methodism in the quarry villages 
below, to say nothing of Brenda's practical agnos- 
ticism, and she herself, standing outside, carried 
far out of reach of the practice of her own half- 
comprehended ritual. It seemed to her that, placed 
as she was, she might attend worship at either or 
both the services in the little chantry chapel. 

So next Sunday, with strict impartiality, she at- 
tended the ministrations of " shock-headed Peter," 
as Mrs. Bartlemy irreverently dubbed the junior 
parson of Combarrow. She could not forbear a 
smile as she recognised the aptness of the descrip- 



THE SILENCE loi 

tion, and saw: In the reading-desk a bottle-brush 
mounted on a lank, angular body and long neck. 
It was not that the curate's hair was long, but it 
was unusually thick, with a tendency to bristle. 

The service was of an austere simplicity. 
Though the red lamp still burned before the 
shrine there was no attempt to copy the Roman 
Use, yet it was more in harmony, Anstace felt, 
than if there had been. The sermon, too, was 
plain and rough-hewn, like the quarried stone of 
which the chapel was built; brief and terse, not a 
simile, not a scrap of word-painting, not a ^' purple 
patch " from end to end. The text arrested An- 
stace ; it was '' Man is born to trouble as the sparks 
fly upwards,'' and she found herself listening as 
she rarely listened to the ornate discourses she was 
used to. There was something in the boyish 
phrases that now and then recalled the brave words 
of R. L. Stevenson ; yet as she came away she said 
to herself, " It is easy talking for a lad like that 
who doesn't know what trouble means." 

Next week Bartlemy departed, and Anstace 
quickly settled into a monotonous but pleasant 
round of little household duties. Mrs. Clibbet 
did the rough work and Iris ran errands, but An- 
stace would by no means hear of sitting idle with 
her hands in her lap, *^ like a lady," as Brenda 
put it. She found a sort of entertainment in dust- 
ing, laying the table, washing up the tea-things 
and learning to cook all manner of little dainty 
dishes out of a fat red manual that lay with Bar- 



I02 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

tlemy's Family Bible on a crochet mat on the mid- 
dle of the little round table in the bow-window. 
Sometimes her efforts were a brilliant success, for 
she had faculty though no practice in any useful 
art, and when they were failures they afforded 
Brenda so much amusement Anstace declared the 
laugh did her as much good as the intended cus- 
tard or jelly would have done. She soon found, 
too, how much comfort her soft movements and 
dainty ways were when her hostess was more help- 
less and suffering than usual. 

Brenda was a source of continual interest to 
Anstace; no one quite like her had ever crosed 
her path before. She was far less respectful than 
Bartlemy, but her little freedoms never offended, 
and she showed herself truly a lady in not only 
addressing no queries to her guest on her private 
affairs, but in never trying to entrap her into any 
admissions when she referred, as she sometimes 
did by accident, to things that had happened before 
her hegira. Her courage and patience were brac- 
ing to witness, and she was nearly always cheery, 
full of quaint comments on men and things. 
Her experience of life had been an odd one ; deli- 
cate from childhood, she had often been kept 
from school, still oftener from the amusements 
in which her cousins joined, and she had 
viewed life chiefly from an attic window in an old- 
fashioned house, overlooking the river a little be- 
low Blackwall, a house where sailors went and 
came, for the uncle who brought her up was a 



THE SILENCE 103 

ship-chandler. Her bright spots had been the visits 
of her aunt's nephew, the young sailor Bartlemy, 
and she had been his sweetheart since she was 
fourteen, receiving his long letters and his gifts 
of delightful curiosities, parrots and monkeys and 
all sorts of impossible pets that invariably died, 
as well as ornaments In which her vain little soul 
delighted, her heart going out with the ships that 
went down the river. She had been married eight 
years, she told Anstace, to her surprise, for she 
looked still such a child, but had always been too 
fragile to follow her husband from port to port 
as some sailors' wives did, and still watched from 
her upper window the weaving of the web of life 
on one of the world's great highways — an educa- 
tion more practical than that of board schools. 
And then at last had come the secure haven of the 
coastguard appointment and the comfortable little 
home, and the very same year the complete break- 
down of her health, making her In all probability 
a helpless invalid for the rest of her days. It was 
bitterly sad ; yet Anstace envied her. 

Another amusement was the attempt to train 
Iris Into a deft house and parlour maid. That 
practical young person answered well enough to 
her name as the handmaid of the gods, but in Its 
more romantic aspect it was a comical misfit. 

" How came you to bestow such a poetic name 
on her, Mrs. Clibbet? " she asked one day while 
that good woman was Initiating her Into the mys- 
teries of basting a joint, and the rainbow maid was 



I04 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

up to the elbows in washing the potatoes. " Did 
she come to you as a rainbow of promise? *' 

'^ Law, ma'am, I never thought nothing about 
rainbows. Is that what Iris means? *Twas just 
the name of the gunboat her father was serving on 
time she was bom." 

Truly the stumpy little maiden favoured her 
godmother, the gunboat, rather than the rainbow 
in her build and solid qualities. 

It rather tickled Anstace to observe the way in 
which Mrs. Bartlemy, though always extremely 
polite, kept both mother and daughter in their 
place, and the meekness with which they accepted 
it. Later she discovered the unwritten law that 
formed the basis of the etiquette of a Coastguard 
Station, and like most laws of etiquette it obliged 
its votaries to pay in dulness for an exalted 
station. 

One day, having run out between the showers 
for a breath of fresh air, Anstace heard sounds of 
soft tinkling music issuing from the lookout shel- 
ter, and peeping in she saw Conroy, the junior 
coastguard, seated on a coil of rope, thrumming a 
Cakewalk on his banjo, while he supported the 
melody by a clear whistle. She stopped a moment. 
" How pretty," she said; " those nigger melodies 
are wonderfully charming." 

He looked up. ** Glad you like it, miss ; do you 
know this ? " and struck up a plaintive, crooning 
plantation song. 

" Ah, how sweet," she cried. " Do let me try. 



THE SILENCE 105 

I haven't touched an instrument for months; I 
wonder if I can remember — ^*' She fingered the 
strings a few moments, finding' the differences not 
very fundamental between a banjo and a mandolin 
to which she was used, and presently began a 
Klepht song, a weird, pathetic melody, which, after 
many stanzas, suddenly resolved into a gay and 
rollicking finale. Her listener was enchanted and 
begged for more, but she hardly heard him; the 
feeling of the strings under jier fingers was bring- 
ing back many things, and rather to herself than to 
him she sang in a soft, inward, brooding tone a 
song of which the burden was : 

Why did you ever cross my path. 
If we met but to part? 

As the last notes died away a lump rose in her 
throat, her eyes filled; she rose abruptly and re- 
turned the instrument, hardly hearing the polite 
offer of its owner to teach her some real good plan- 
tation ditties he had learned from the blacks in the 
West Indies. 

At tea Mrs. Bartlemy, fingering her cup in an 
embarrassed manner very unusual with her, re- 
marked, " I thought I saw you playing the banjo 
with Mr. Conroy up at the Look-out? " 

" Yes," said Anstace, aware of blame in the 
tone; ^' was I distracting him from his duties? I 
am sorry." 

" It is not so much that, though of course Bar* 
tlemy is particular; but you see it doesn't do for 



io6 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

the officers' families to be intimate with the men 
and their wives." 

It had not occurred to Anstace to regard a petty 
officer in this light, since she supposed they all 
came from the same class, but she perceived that 
what from above looks level, viewed from that 
level reveals unsuspected heights and hollows. It 
accounted for Brenda's loneliness, but the tradi- 
tion of dignified isolation was not to be lightly 
broken down, and with a smile she promised to 
conform. The wisdom of it in her own case be- 
came apparent next Sunday, when in the afternoon 
Conroy, in his very best, adorned with a crimson 
dahlia in his buttonhole, presented himself and 
proffered his company for a walk. He was mani- 
festly rather injured when his escort was politely 
declined. 

Anstace laughed at herself as she said to Brenda, 
" I think you had better tell Conroy, or let Mrs. 
Clibbet, that I am * Mrs.,' not ' Miss,' and that 
I am not a widow." 



BOOK III 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 



" Does the road wind uphill all die way? " An- 
stace asked as she toiled with her bicycle to gain 
the crest of the long ridge that formed the inner 
rampart of the coast. The jutting headland that 
bore St. Rock's chapel and the coastguard station 
was a considerable height above the sea, but within 
rose another range, longer and steeper still. She 
had long ago dismounted and taken to wheeling 
her machine over the soft, sticky ruts ; to face the 
moist west wind Was like trying to ride against a 
damp, flapping sheet; she began to acknowledge 
that, as Bartlemy had warned her, she had far bet- 
ter have left her bicycle at home and taken to 
Shanks's pony, but besides being rather lazy about 
walking, like most girls used to riding and cycling, 
she was not accustomed to being alone, and her 
bicycle gave her a pleasant delusion of companion- 
ship. 

It was good to be out again, and enjoy even a 
fleeting sunshine as the heavy cloud shadows swept 
across the hiUs. Anstace was weary of watching 
the raindrops chase each other down the window- 
pane, or when the curtains were drawn hearing the 
lashing sound of them as they beat against the ex- 

107 



io8 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

posed comer house. When she had sought these 
solitudes she had not bargained for rain day after 
day, week after week; rain and wind, wind and 
rain, making the lonely little station almost a 
prison. Queechy had after all proved quite a 
resource. Anstace had laughed with Brenda over 
the romantic figure of Guy Carleton and had found 
genuine enjoyment in the careful old-fashioned 
writing and the charming descriptions of New Eng- 
land country life of a half century ago, so different 
to the America of to-day. Even the long-winded- 
ness had its advantages, for when her little house- 
hold tasks were done there was nothing but bed to 
look forward to. 

And now the little tasks were taken from her, 
for Bartlemy had just got back and was almost 
jealous that anyone but himself should do a hand's 
turn for his missis. She must now in earnest set 
about finding rooms for herself; she meant to go 
round through the village and make inquiries; 
perhaps at the post-office and general shop they 
might know of something. 

For a long time it seemed that she only reached 
the top of one hill to find yet another height beyond 
her, but at last she stood fairly on the summit, 
and looking forth from the brow could see what 
kind of a country it was she had chosen for her 
home. 

Lonely. That was its dominant note, and it 
pleased her well ; she was sick of her fellows just 
now. The long grey hills rose ridge beyond ridge, 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 109 

till they fell away In the far distance, and there 
was the grey sea again, hardly to be distinguished 
from the grey sky except for a rare passing sail. 
Sea on this side, sea on that. Below, the way she 
had come, St. Rock's Head, pushing out to sea, 
the low white coastguard station and the low grey 
chapel breaking the sweeping curve of the cliS-top. 
Further round, towards Stonedge, the slopes were 
broken with stone sheds, gaunt cranes and wind- 
lasses, mounds of scaur : here and there in the val- 
ley a mean-looking farm or two, a mere cottage 
with its huddled sheds and outbuildings, very 
unlike the opulent farms of richer counties. A 
mile or two beneath, on the road she meant to 
return by, a church with a long nave and great 
Norman tower, and below that again a straggling 
village, not clustered sociably round the church, as 
most villages are, but squandered all along the 
road, with little branches leading up to the 
quarries. 

Silent, too : no passing wheels, no cheery voices, 
only the monotonous, musical clink, clink of unseen 
hammers chiselling out the hard stone. There was 
something weird in the stillness ; but Anstace was 
weary of the sound of human voices; her ear ached 
for the one voice, and it seemed as though she 
could recall it better up here, where now even the 
lark's note was hushed. She stood a long while, 
leaning on a gate and drinking it all in. A harsh, 
severe country, yet it suited her better now than a 
softer land where she would have oftener thought 



no THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

of the radiant, sunny island where her happiness 
was to have been complete. 

Presently she roused herself, went through the 
gate into the main road, and, mounting, was soon 
speeding down the hill with a sense of exhilaration 
that a few minutes before she would not have 
thought herself capable of. With wind and hill 
in her favour and the road up here fairly dried, 
she let herself go with a light touch of her foot on 
the brake. A mile or more of smooth, empty road, 
then the village, beginning with a rather frowsy 
loooking tavern, called suggestively The Last Out ; 
she checked her speed a little, though the street 
was nearly as empty, for the school had not yet 
poured forth its tiresome little crew. The shop 
where she meant to make her inquiries was some 
way down, and before she reached it she caught 
sight of a wayfarer a little ahead of her. There 
was ample room to pass him, only he seemed to 
have an annoying habit of wavering from side to 
side of the road, and she thought him drunk for a 
moment, until she perceived that he was an old, 
white-haired parson, rather tottery on his legs. 
She put the brake on hard and rang, rang again, 
and he started and looked round, plunged forward, 
plunged back again, she swerved, thought she had 
just cleared him, when to her surprise she found 
herself, the bicycle, and the old gentleman all in 
the dust together. 

She scrambled to her feet unhurt and looked 
round, seeing to her dismay that her victim lay 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR iii 

still with his head in the gutter. The spot where 
they had fallen was a gap in the village between 
the churchyard wall and the hedge of some allot- 
ment gardens; there was no one near at hand. 
Anstace tried to raise him to a sitting posture, and 
found that blood was trickling from a cut on the 
side of his head. He did not appear to be stunned 
by the fall, though his head fell back when she 
took her hand away to get out her handkerchief, 
his face was flushed rather than pale, and he 
breathed heavily. He was not dead at any rate, 
as for one hideous moment she had feared when 
she saw him lie there. With another effort she 
managed to draw him up so as to rest against her 
knee, while she wiped the blood with her very 
insufficient morsel of embroidered cambric. He 
opened his eyes, put up his hand to his head, then 
looking with dismay at the blood which dabbled 
his fingers, began to whimper like a child. ^' I'm 
very badly hurt, very badly hurt indeed," he said, 
with a gusty sob. 

" I don't think the cut is very deep," said An- 
stace, soothingly. " Give me your handkerchief 
and let me tie it up ; mine is so little. You are not 
luirt anywhere else, are you? I am afraid you are 
a good deal shaken." 

" I'm terribly shaken ; my nerves have had a 
great shock." He wept again and fumbled help- 
lessly for his handkerchief, which Anstace pres- 
ently succeeded in extracting. It was a large ban- 
dana and made an excellent bandage. 



112 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" What were you about to dash into me like 
that? You shouldn't be so careless," he said, re- 
proachfully, while she adjusted it; and Anstace 
forbore to explain how little she was to blame for 
the accident. 

" Do you think you could walk with my arm? " 
she asked, gently, ** or shall I fetch someone from 
the village? Would you like to go into the inn 
and rest a little ? '* 

" No, no; Peter will hear of it. You must take 
me home. I am giddy, veiy giddy." 

She got him to his feet with a little difficulty and 
they set forth. At any rate there were no bones 
broken; he was quite able to stand, but not only 
was he very tottery, but had a curious inclination 
to ramble half across the road, as he had been 
doing when she ran into him, and she had consid^ 
erable difficulty in steering a straight course. She 
did not attempt any conversation when once she 
had expressed her sorrow for the accident ; talking 
seemed to make him cry. Fortunately the distance 
was not great. 

" In here," he said, with a twitch to her arm, 
as they reached an iron gate of that peculiar shade 
of blue that has once been green but is all washed 
out with the damp sea winds. It gave entrance to 
a weedy shrubbery walk, leading up to a stone 
house with a ramshackle wooden verandah. She 
observed as they went up that though the whole 
garden bore traces of long neglect and decay, yet 
the lawn and flower-beds in front showed marks 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 113 

of recent vigorous digging and mowing; the grass 
was sour, rank, and thin, but it had been closely 
shaved, and if the beds were bare of flowers there 
was at least the promise of the wholesome, freshly 
turned earth. 

" You can go now,'' said the old gentleman, as 
he fumbled with the latch of the door. 

" Are you sure I can be of no further use? Per- 
haps you would like me to fetch the doctor?" 

At that moment the door was pushed open from 
within and the broad figure of an elderly servant 
appeared in the doorway. 

" Weill Whatever have you been doing now? " 
was her disrespectful greeting, as she saw her 
master's bandaged head. 

^' It was not my fault, Martha," he said, in the 
same childish, whimpering tone in which he had 
addressed Anstace. ^^ This lady knocked me down 
as I was coming along the street ; she did, indeed ; 
ask her if she didn't." 

Evidently the old man was childish; probably 
he was not allowed to go out alone, and having 
given his attendant the slip was in disgrace. 

" I did, I am sorry to say. I was coming down 
the hill, and I don't think he heard the bell. I am 
so concerned about it; I do hope his hurt is only 
trifling." 

She was turning to go away, when she was con- 
fronted by the lank young curate she had seen at 
St. Rock's. 

"What is it?" he cried. "What has hap. 



114 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

pened? " He was striding up the path with a face 
devoured by anxiety. She hastened to reassure 
him. 

" Indeed, I don't think it is much ; only a little 
cut on his head. I am so very sorry about it. I 
tried to avoid him, but it was downhill ^" 

" It was entirely her fault," interrupted the 
victim fretfully. 

'^ Take my father into his room and see to his 
head, Martha. Indeed," turning politely to An- 
stace, " I don't suppose you could help it. I quite 
understand. Please say no more. Apologies are 
rather due to you." 

" Can I fetch the doctor or anything? I have 
a bicycle outside — at least a little way up the hill 
where the accident happened. I dragged it into 
the hedge and left it. I should be so glad if I 
could be of any use." 

" Was it a bad cut? " 

^* Oh, no, I don't think so ; it bled a good deal, 
and that frightened him." 

" Then I expect Martha's surgery will do. I 
will just look in on him and then I will fetch your 
bicycle. Please come in and rest. Are you sure 
you are not hurt yourself? Your hands ^" 

Anstace had been too much absorbed to pay any 
attention to her own appearance, but now became 
aware that the accident had left various traces on 
her dress and hands that she should not be sorry 
to remove. 

** Oh, I am not hurt ; it was only in trying to 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 115 

lift and bandage faim ; but thanks, I should like to 
wash them." 

"If you will come in here for a moment I will 
send the servant to take you upstairs." He opened 
a door as he spoke, ushering Anstace into a cold, 
small drawing-room that looked as if it had been 
kept under a glass case since the early sixties. It 
belonged to the day of beaded banner screens, 
glass shades, and crochet antimacassars ; not one of 
the latter was rumpled or awry; the blinds of the 
two windows were half drawn, matching each 
other to the fraction of an inch; not a speck of 
dust lay on anything, yet there was a faint, musty 
odour as of a room shut up, unused ; not a flower 
was there nor a book, except a few show volumes, 
Birket-Foster, Rogers' Italy and the like, laid out 
in concentric order upon the large rosewood 
table in the middle of the room. 

" This is going back fifty years with a venge- 
ance," thought Anstace as she looked around; " I 
wonder if all the drawing-rooms in this part of the 
world are on a like pattern." She had time to 
take stock of it all and admire the industry which 
had covered the music-stool and the two round 
foot-stools with fine Berlin cross-stitch, and draped 
the sofa in a knitted couvrepied in stripes, before 
the servant came in. 

** What can I do for you, ma'am ? " she said 
civilly. "You would like to come upstairs and 
wash your hands ? " 

" Please ; but first, how is your Master now ? " 



ii6 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" Oh, he's all right, ma'am ; don't you worry 
about him. 'Twasn't but a scratch, and now I've 
washed and plastered it, it don't hardly hurt him. 
He's layin' on his bed and he'll soon sleep it off. 
This way, please, and I'll soon put you to rights. 
A good job you weren't hurt yourself." 

Descending the stairs a few minutes later, 
washed and brushed and restored to the usual 
delicate niceness of her appearance, Anstace found 
the younger parson awaiting her in the hall. 

" I am afraid you have been the greatest 
sufferer after all," he said. ** Do you know I 
found your bicycle in rather a bad way ; the pedal 
had got so bent you couldn't possibly have ridden 
it, so as I found that without tools I couldn't bring 
it to reason, I hauled it to the blacksmith — ^he's 
a very good fellow and always does mine — he'll 
have it done in about an hour and bring it round. 
Meanwhile you'll have some tea. Come into the 
other room, if you don't mind. There's no fire 
in the drawing-room, and if it was lighted it would 
be an age before there was any comfort in it. 
You will excuse the untidiness of a bachelor's 
den." 

If the room was untidy, it was the untidiness of 
a scholar's workshop. The knee-hole table was 
swamped with papers and strewed with quill pens 
in various stages of dilapidation. There were 
books on the walls, books on the tables, books on 
the window-seat, and books on the chairs; there 
was a big, red fire on the hearth with a deep, shabby 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 117 

armchair on each side of it, and the smell was of 
books — and of pipes. 

" I like a room that looks lived in," said An- 
stace, seating herself, and looking around com- 
fortably. 

" Well, you see Dad and I are fond of a place 
where we can do as we like. WeVe been brought 
up in some awe of the other room. My poor 
mother was always so careful, and Martha prides 
herself on keeping it just as it used to be when she 
was alive. I am not sure," he added, with a droll 
look, '* that I should not expect Martha to smack 
me if I drew one of the blinds up or broke a glass 
shade. But I don't enjoy being a slave to my 
things, do you ? " 

There was something quaintly simple, almost 
boyish in his manner; he was evidently one of those 
shy people who, when the outworks are broken 
down, are entirely without ceremony. Receiving 
Anstace on parochial business in the stiff draw- 
ing-room, he would have been stiffness itself; the 
casual mannei of her coming put him at ease be- 
fore he knew, and she herself was always easy. 
Though he had a bright way of speaking, she 
noticed that when he was silent the long, grave 
face looked much older, and there were anxious 
lines about the eyes. 

Martha brought in the tea-pot, and he drew a 
chair to the table for his guest. 

"I'm afraid the cake is very plain," he said; 
" I hope you won't mind." 



ii8 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

It was a ginger loaf, and the bread and butter 
was thick; the cups were very large and the tea- 
pot was an old brown Rockingham, with a nick 
out of the spout; nevertheless Anstace enjoyed her 
tea as she had not enjoyed any meal for a long 
time. 

"Are you staying here, Miss ?" he began, 

and paused inquiringly for the name. 

" Mrs. Claude," put in Anstace. 

He bowed. " I beg pardon. I was going to 
say, Mrs. Claude, do you come over from Ston- 
edge ? I think I saw you in the little chapel at St. 
Rock's one day, didn't I ? " 

" Yes, I go there sometimes; do tell me about 
it; it seems such an odd little place for service," 
said Anstace, evading his first question. 

" Well, it is one of those little chantries you so 
often find on the crests of hills near the sea to serve 
the double purpose of landmark an4 place of in- 
tercession. A crusader of the Cljme family at 
Binamy in the Golden Bowl, the other side of 
Crowsnest, founded it and endowed it with a main- 
tenance for a Chantry priest, who should say 
Masses for his soul and the souls of his family. 
He dedicated it to St. Roque, who was easily cor- 
rupted into St. Rock, in memory of his miraculous 
recovery from the plague while in the Holy Land 
— ^you saw the fresco, of course, of St. Roque and 
his dog? Then at the great pillage it was seized 
with the lands belonging to Pucksdown Abbey, the 
priest's emolument swallowed up, the chapel just 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 119 

rifled and left Fortunately it was so out of the 
way that nobody meddled with it, nobody carried 
off the stone to build their own bams; stone, you 
see. Is plenty hereabout, and some half century ago 
the Clynes, who had always stuck to the old faith, 
bought it back together with much of the Abbey 
lands, but it was only quite lately it was restored. 
The present owner is a man of rather peculiar 
views and a great antiquarian. His diaplain says 
Mass there for the few Catholics there are amongst 
his tenantry, this side, and the coastguard, but he 
insists on lending it on alternate Sundays for us 
to hold service. If he were a very obedient son of 
the Church I don't suppose he would do it, but he 
has his own notions, and since it is private property 
and he has it in his power to withhold it altogether, 
I suppose it is winked at. I imagine, too, he is 
one of those over whom they are anxious not to 
lose what hold they have." 

^' It is like the Simultan churches of some parts 
of Germany." 

** Aye, but here it is a new experiment." 

" And does it make for peace? " 

" With us it does, for both Mr. Clyne and the 
Father are my very good friends. Conceivably it 
might do the other thing. Do you remember some 
years ago some Catholic writings on the subject 
of Reunion which were promptly suppressed? 
Well, some of those were written by a great ally of 
Father lanstone, and the writer found an asylum 
at Binamy while he was in trouble about them. 



I20 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

We used to have most Interesting talks on the sub- 
ject, but Father lanstone is a dreamer." 

" I know," said Anstace; " I could tell that by 
his sermons." 

" You go to both ? You are impartial." 

'' I, oh, I am an alien altogether," she said, and 
then pulled herself up short; she did not want to 
say she belonged to the Eastern Church ; it would 
surely give rise to comment and speculation which 
she wished to avoid. She stood up rather abruptly 
and began to put on her gloves. He rose, too. 
" If you will excuse me a moment I will inquire 
about the bicycle and just see how my father is." 

Left alone, Anstace began to examine her 
surroundings a little more in detail, as one is apt 
to do in a strange room, for there is as much to be 
gathered about people from the things they use 
as from the words they say ; more sometimes. The 
pictures were chiefly old-fashioned engravings such 
as adorn most country parsonages, but there was 
a large and very fine photograph of Perugino's 
Crucifixion and another of the pastel study for 
the Head of Christ for Leonardo da Vinci's 
Cenacolo, which is in the picture gallery at Milan. 
In a comer was a carved triptych, closed, and be- 
fore it an oak prie-dleu. One low bookcase 
seemed full of modem books, and, looking at the 
titles, she saw they were chiefly socialist and eco- 
nomic works, the names of which she knew, though 
her study of the subject had been of the most 
superficial. Fourier, Karl Marx, Lasalle, were 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 121 

but names to her, though, of course, she had dab- 
bled more or less in Tolstoi interpreted by 
Tchertkoff and Aylmer Maude. Economics, how- 
ever, were not the sole preoccupation of the owner 
of the bookcase, for a lower shelf was overflowing 
with poets, old and Elizabethan, new and Irish; 
Beaumont and Fletcher, Webster and Ford, cheek 
by jowl with Yeats and Maeterlinck, while Cra- 
shaw had got in between A Shropshire Lad and 
The City of Dreadful Night. She had had time to 
carry her observations over a considerable range 
when her host reappeared. 

" My father is asleep and looking quite com- 
fortable. The bicycle has not come yet; can you 
make yourself happy yet a little? ** 

" It is beginning to get rather dusk,** she said, 
with an apprehensive glance at the window. 

" Shall I go and hurry the man.'* 

"Oh, please don't trouble; no doubt he will 
bring it as soon as it is done, and I have my 
lamp. I was amusing myself with a look at your 
bookshelves ; you are a Socialist, I see." 

" Am I ? About as much as Falkland was a 
Socinian. Do you think it is fair to classify a 
man's opinions from his bookshelves? " 

"Well, no; but they are indications of those 
that interest him at any rate." 

" True, and I suppose that every man alive in 
these days — I mean, of course, those that are alive 
and care — must be interested. But what, after all, 
is Socialism ? " 



122 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

He faced her with the eager question, his small, 
blue eyes narrowed to slits in their intentness. 

She shrugged her shoulders. "Who can s&y? 
I am sure I cannot/' 

** If by Socialists you mean Father Dolling and 
St. Francis, I am with you with both hands." 

She looked at him in silence, half puzzled by 
his vehemence, and, feeling the shallowness of 
her own knowledge of the subject, attempted 
no rejoinder. With a smile at himself, he 
went on : 

" I mean if it is that those who have had better 
chances in the world give themselves body and 
soul, wed Poverty for the sake of the poor, live 
among them, help those to rise who can rise — 
why, that's more than Socialism, that is practical 
Christianity. One even sympathises a lot with 
Tolstoi and his impossible Doukhobors. But after 
all, isn't it practical Socialism that this twentieth 
century is bringing in, and look at it I It seems 
to mean the company instead of the responsible 
individual; it means the tyranny of the majority — 
worse than the tyranny of the despot, because the 
majority has no conscience and is the sport of 
blind chance; it means a heap of atoms instead of a 
living organism; it means despising labour and 
grudging riches; it means a dead level of dreary 
sameness; it means materialism and hopeless vul- 
garity." 

" But," said Anstace, " surely when you sec the 
^poverty, the misery, the horrible injustice of 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 123 

things — I don't know much, it is true, but I used 
to do a little feeble and futile * slununing ' in town, 
and it seemed to me one would grasp at anything 
that would redress the balance." 

" Yes, yes, I know; there is an awful need of 
reforms. Don't imagine I would try and block 
the way even when they don't come on my lines. 
There are men of noble ideals who are trying to 
bring in Socialism, and it is by virtue of their ideals 
that it wins its ground. I know I am called a re- 
actionary and a renegade, but I can't help seeing 
that much of it is based on false principles. I hate 
the cant of Liberty and Equality. What has so- 
called liberty brought us but unrestricted compe- 
tition, trampling down the worker in the mad 
struggle to undersell one's neighbour; and as to 
equality, it is a chimera that has no standing 
ground in nature, and the nearest we can come to 
it is a deadly monotony. When I was a boy at 
school, I used to go down to Dolling at Landport 
for a week-end now and again, and since I was 
ordained I worked nearly two years in a great in- 
dustrial suburb where the conditions were consid- 
ered favourable, and I can tell you that the life 
of those sometimes starving thousands of casual 
labourers that hang about the Dockyard, living 
from hand to mouth, that variegated population 
of costers, organ-grinders, loafers, was to my 
thinking better worth living than that of those 
workers, secure of just a living wage, who inhab- 
ited endless rows of decent houses exactly alike. 



124 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

who seemed to have no up or down, no Heaven 
or Hell. You couldn't get at them; they didn't 
want you: they would come to evening service 
sometimes just to oblige you, if the church was 
well warmed and the hymns sentimental ; they did 
not deny or blaspheme God; they simply had no 
need of Him. The work was sickening." 

** And so," said Anstace, not realising what a 
personality she flung; ** so you threw it all up and 
buried youraelf in the country where there are no 
problems." 

He looked at her for a moment, astonished. 

** After all, Mrs. Claude, people have souls in 
the country as well as in the towns, though per- 
haps to you they seem too few to be worth look- 
ing after, and you are very much mistaken if you 
think there are no problems here — or no wick- 
edness." 

" Oh," she cried with quick compunction, " I 
did not realise what a rude thing I was saying; in 
fact, I was so interested I got carried away. Pray 
forgive me." 

^' Forgive me rather for inflicting such a disser- 
tation upon you. We used to have tremendous 
arguments at the Clergy House, and here I so 
rarely get anyone to talk to about these things. 
Ah, here comes die bicycle — and the rain, too, I 
am afraid," as a sharp gust lashed the window. 
He went into the hall, returning in a moment to 
say, " The bicycle is all right now, but the weather 
isn't; I am afraid there is a nasty storm blowing 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 125 

up from the sea. If you haven't very far to go, 
I strongly advise you to walk and leave the ma- 
chine here; my man shall bring it you in the 
morning." 

Anstace remembered her first arrival through 
rain and wind, and shivered. 

" I think I will take your advice,*' she said; " it 
is not pleasant wheeling over the wet grass to St. 
Rock's." 

" St. Rock's I You don't mean you are living 
out there?" 

'^ I am just for the present, and I think the 
quicker I get back the better." She put out her 
hand. 

'^ Oh, but I am going to see you home, of course. 
You must allow me. I couldn't let you struggle 
out there by yourself." 

She demurred a little, but was easily overborne, 
and was soon trudging off at a rapid trot to keep 
up with his long stride ; sheltered under a big um- 
brella which he with so much difficulty held down 
against the gusts, she saw, had she gone alone, 
she must have gone unprotected. Talking was 
difficult, but she bethought her that here was a 
chance for light on her next step. She had almost 
forgotten her quest, but surely the parson of 
the parish was just the person to know of 
rooms. 

" I wonder if you could tell me of some lodg- 
ings," she panted out; '^ I want to stay in this 
neighbourhood for the winter." 



126 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

• 

''Lodgings here? I don't know, I am sure; 
there are heaps at Stonedge, of course, only I'm 
afraid I don't know much about them." 

" Oh, I don't mean Stonedge; I want to be out 
here, among the quarries." 

*'H'm, quarry people don't take lodgers as a 
rule, and the cottages are so rough. Besides, you'd 
be awfully dull. This is not like the sort of 
country village where there are neighbours ; there's 
not a soul in the place but working people, ex- 
cept — ah, by the way, the Miss Pinnefeathers take 
paying guests sometimes, I believe; but I don't 
know — ^it is a square house the other end of the 
village, with a greenhouse porch; yoii may have 
noticed it. The Home Nest it is called." 

'' I don't know that I should care about being 
a P. G.," said Anstace, with a little moue. " I'd 
sooner lodge in a quarry cottage if they'd have 
me. 

"But where are you staying on St. Rock's? 
Surely not at Cellarfield; I thought it was 
empty." 

*' No, I am only on a visit just now at the Coast- 
guard Station. I came down suddenly for a few 
days, and I have been staying on to keep Mrs. 
Bartlemy company while her husband was away, 
but he came back last week, and I want to find 
permanent quarters." 

" Staying with Mrs. Bartlemy! Why " the 

curate stood still so abruptly that the point of the 
umbrella almost went into Anstace's eye. "Why, 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 127 

you don't mean that it was for you I sent those 
rotten books?" 

She laughed. '* They were very nice, and I was 
very grateful for them. I quite enjoyed Queechy; 
I hadn't seen it since I was a little girl." 

"Oh, but I say, you know — I thought Mrs. 
Bartlemy said you were her sister or something. 

Oh, I beg your pardon; I — I mean ^" He 

floundered and got very red. 

" It is all right," said Anstace. " I know it 
seems a little odd; in fact we are no relation really; 
it is only an adopted relationship out of kindness 
on her side. I came to her once very forlorn, and 
she called me that." 

That the forlorn coming was of yesterday, so 
to speak, he never guessed. 

" Please let me lend you some of my own books; 
those were from the parish lending library : I 
asked the schoolmistress to choose them." 

" Thanks, very much. Some day, perhaps; just 
now, it sounds very foolish, but somehow I cannot 
read anything that wants attention." 

" Oh, but you must read if you live out here. 
If it weren't for books I should cut my throat.'* 

" I daresay I shall be able to bye-and-bye. It 
isn't that I haven't time; I have only too much. 
If I only had something to do I " 

After he had left her at the gate and plunged 
off through the rain, Peter asked himself a string 
of questions concerning her. Who is she? Why 
should she want to live out here? Is she poor? 



♦ 



128 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Is she a widow? And yet he resolved he would 
put none of them to the Bartlemys. That there 
was a mystery and a sorrow he felt certain. Well, 
If she had a secret let her keep it ; it was no busi- 
ness of his. 



II 

No business of his to poke and pry, to ask ques- 
tions that people did not want to answer, but very 
much his business to tramp over the hills to try if 
he could not bring the consolations and healing 
of work to a wounded spirit, such as he divined 
beneath the plaint, ** If only I had something 
todol" 

So the very next afternoon found him in a per- 
fect grove of books, beside which his own over- 
flowing handful appeared but as a nosegay 
compared to the wealth of the woods; books that 
reached to the roof of a long Gothic room, so high 
that a little winding stairway led to a gallery that 
ran across the gable end and down one side with a 
narrow door leading to a turret. On the other side 
the shelves did not extend beyond the reach of a 
step-ladder, and above were dark, dimly-seen 
family portraits. Opposite the gable was a great 
oriel window, with raised seats in the comers. 
Midway in the north wall a huge carved chimney- 
piece jutted out with a tall black oak settle partly 
round it, making a snug comer. Logs burnt on 
the hearth between iron dogs, with the pleasant, 
clean smell of wood smoke untainted with coal. 
An elderly man, with a slouching figure, was walk- 
ing up and down ; the room was quite big enough 

129 



I30 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

to take exercise in; in his hand he held a light 
cane with which every now and then he tapped 
against the comers of tables and chairs. He stood 
still at the sound of the opening door, but without 
looking round. 

" Well, Mr. Clync, I think I have found what 
you want," said Peter, eagerly coming forward 
with hasty greeting. 

'* What, that rara avis a librarian of decent in- 
telligence, willing to bury himself in the country? " 

" The person I have in my eye wishes to live 
here at any rate for the winter. 3he asked if I 
could recommend her rooms, and said she wanted 
something to do." 

"She? Pshaw 1" 

" Oh, but women are so much better than men 
for secretarial work; they have so much more 
patience." 

A grunt. "I suppose you think I require a 
good deal of that commodity in whoever works 
forme?" 

" I didn't mean that, but women like to be 
helpful." 

" Heaven keep me from dependence on a 
woman 1 Nature never designed you for a scholar; 
that is very sure. Fancy turning a woman loose 
here 1 " he waved his hand in the direction of the 
shelves. " Talk of a bull in a china shop 1 SheM 
be using the fifteenth century Tractates for curl- 
papers." 

" You generalise : all women are not like that." 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 131 

" All women are not, of course ; there is always 
the one exception. Peter, you're in love." 

The curate reddened angrily. " In the first 
place, as you know, I have definitely set aside all 
such ideas; and in the second, my personal ac- 
quaintance with this lady is of the slightest." 

'* H'm; can she type? The catalogue should be 
typed. What is her speed in case I needed writing 
from dictation ? " 

*^ I don't know, I could ascertain of course." 

** What sort of a hand does she write ? " 

** I don't know ; I never saw any of her writing, 
but she is a cultivated woman ; she would be sure 
to write well." 

"It doesn't follow. Well, what age is she? 
Who does she belong to? What are her ref- 
erences? " 

Peter began to feel he had been somewhat rash 
and premature, but the Squire was not a stickler 
for conventionality. 

** As to references," he said, " I haven't asked 
her about them yet: I thought I would just see 
if there was a chance for her before I said any- 
thing. Her name is Mrs. Claude ; I imagine she 
is a widow, though I don't think she said; she 
looks as if she had had trouble. I couldn't say 
exactly what her age is ; she has a young face and 
figure, but her hair is very grey, so she can't be so 
very young. Well, will you see her? " 

" Certainly not." 

The curate's face fell. "As you please, of 



132 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

course." He could not quite keep the disappoint- 
ment out of his tone. 

^' Peter, I wonder if you at all realise what an 
absurdity your idea is. Comes along a pretty 

"Woman " ("I never said she was pretty," 

broke in Peter; " I never noticed, I don't think she 
was.") — "Well, it is all the same, a fascinating 
woman, we'll say, and you, knowing no more of 
her than the man in the moon, are ready to go bail 
for her. She may be an adventuress for aught you 
can tell." 

" I am quite sure she is nothing of the sort," 
said Peter hotly. " Why, she is staying up at the 
Coastguard Station with the chief officer's wife; 
the acme of respectability." 

" Why, my good Peter, I thought you told me 
she was a lady? " 

" I never said so, but she is obviously." 

"Well-bred women don't go straying about 
without belongings or recommendations looking 
for employment in bachelor establishments." 

Peter rose from the settle, thoroughly annoyed 
both with Mr. Clyne and with himself. " Far 
from looking for employment with you," he said, 
" she knows nothing of my asking you, and I'm 
sorry I did. It struck me she might be able to give 
you just the sort of help you want, and would 
have a deal more patience than a young fellow. 
However, I see it is no good." And off he went 
in dudgeon. 

" Poor Peter," said Eldred Clyne to himself, 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 133 

when the sound of the closing door told him he was 
alone. "What a boy he is still; now I suppose 
he will go and fall in love with this widow-be- 
witched, and there'll be the devil to pay. His 
Miss Cinderella would have been better than 
that." 

The curate hated being baffled, besides the evi- 
dent forlomness of the solitary waif who had 
drifted across his path appealed to his chivalry. 
If he failed to find her employment he might find 
her a home, for an idea had come to him, and in 
pursuance of it instead of turning homewards, he 
took his way up and up through the chain of quarry 
hamlets, till he reached a square stone house of 
more pretension than the quarriers' cottages, but 
without beauty save what comes from perfect fit- 
ness and harmony with its surroundings. Its grey, 
lichened walls were almost the same tone as the 
grey hillside in the lee of which it stood; the grey 
roof-slabs came low and sheltering, as if they 
brooded tenderly over the home within; between 
the stone muUions, through the small diamond 
panes, showed saffron curtains and pots of gera- 
nium and sweet musk, and a porch with stone 
seats formed a hospitable approach to the front 
door. 

In a moment the visitor was admitted by a tall 
woman of middle age, with whom he warmly 
shook hands. The dominant note of Abigail 
Chinchen's personality was repose. Though some- 
what stout, she bore herself with an ease that was 



134 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

not far removed from grace, and with a dignity 
that was in nowise marred by the apron of clean 
faoUand with a bib that covered her plain brown 
gown; the hands, which bore white traces of the 
needle on the first finger and betrayed an acquaint- 
ance with the washtiib by their soft wrinkled tips, 
were as delicately kept as a lady's; her comely 
countenance and broad white bro\^ had an ex- 
pression of mingled gravity and sweetness, not 
without a touch of humour in the comer of the 
well-shaped mouth. 

" Why, it is Mr. Peter I Come in, sir ; you won't 
mind the kitchen where it is warm. Mr. Angel 
likes best to have his tea in there along with my 
husband, so as often as not I don't light the par- 
lour fire." 

The kitchen into which she ushered him was 
more like the "house-place" of olden times. 
Everything was spick and span in its afternoon 
order : it was a place to live in, not merely to cook 
in, and all rough work was done in the outer 
kitchen at the back. Moreover, instead of the 
modem abomination of a kitchener, the broad open 
fire, pleasant to sit by, hinted at possibilities of 
real roast meat, such as the generation of to-day 
knows not. 

" Well, sir, and how is the old gentleman now? 
Better, I hope." 

Peter shook his head. " He is rather sadly, 
thank you. He had another fall yesterday, got 
mixed up somehow with a lady's bicycle and cut 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 135 

his head. It was about the lady, who brought him 
home, I came to speak to you. It seems she is 
staying at the coastguard cottages, and she said 
she wanted to find some rooms for the winter, and 
I remembered you said you found it a bit lonely, 
and as there was plenty of room you thought of 
asking Mr. Angel if he would mind letting 
two.'' 

"Thank you, Mr. Peter; it was very good of 
you to think of me, but I hardly know — a lady? 
surely she'd be better in the village. You know 
what it is like up here in the winter. What about 
the Miss Pinnef eathers ? " 

Peter shrugged his shoulders. " They are very 
nice, of course, but somehow they don't seen quite 
her sort. Besides I gathered she wants solitude 
and quiet. She looks as If she had had some great 
trouble." 

" Is it a young lady, sir? " 

"Not exactly; she is a widow I think. Her hair 
is nearly white, but she has rather a young look, 
too." 

" Well, sir, I'll speak to Mr. Angel about it. 
He doesn't much like strangers, you know, and I'd 
thought more of an elderly, homely kind of a body 
I could do for. You don't think the lady would 
mind my husband ? He is as gentle as a lamb, you 
know. He seems a bit better of late; he's gone 
up to the quarries now along with Mr. Angel." 

" Mind him? Of course she won't. Dear old 
Chinchen, why it is a pleasure to see him so happy 



136 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

with his cats, and singing his hymns just like a big 
child." 

" Yes, thank God, he is happy enough now 
always, just pleased with the sunshine and the 
birds, and wanting no more than I can give him. 
That time when he used to cry and fret day-long 
it fair broke my heart." 

Peter rose to go. " I have not brought you 
any books to-day," he said, " for when I set out 
I did not know I was coming up here. You shall 
have some more soon." 

" Never mind, sir. I am just going to start and 
read Lavengro through again. That is a book I 
You seem all the while to be living in a different 
world. I could read that book through and 
through and not weary of it. Now, before you go, 
you must just let 'me find an egg or two for the 
reverend Mr. Whitethome." 

Peter waited a minute at the gate while she went 
round to her little farmyard on her quest, and 
looked about him, asking himself how a stranger 
might view the surroundings. Lonesome, bleak, 
bare ; yet he thought he had found an oasis in the 
desert, a real home for the forlorn woman who, 
though he had learned nothing of her story, filled 
him with compassion, he knew not why. 

Meanwhile, Anstace, who felt the duty of seek- 
ing quarters begin to press upon her, had betaken 
herself to The Home Nest in no very hopeful 
mind. It stood a few yards back from the road 
where the village dwindled at the Stonedge end. 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 137 

and had Gentility writ large on its dusty shrubs 
and its greenhouse porch, in which the spindly 
geraniums and dejected ferns appeared to have 
suffered from the keen blasts of winter. Inside 
Gentility was still the dominant note; there was 
the inevitable drainpipe, painted with a design of 
rushes, to hold the umbrellas, and a wisp of art- 
muslin curtain discreetly veiling the stucco arch- 
way that led to the back premises. The maid 
who answered the door wore long streamers at the 
back of her cap, but it had obviously been pinned 
on in a hurry with smutty fingers. 

The drawing-room into which Anstace was 
ushered was empty, and she had a minute to take 
stock while the maid hastily set light to the fire. 
Everything in the room, piano, bookcase, cabinets, 
rugs, was set cross-comers or prancing out end- 
wise into the room, so that the visitor proceeding 
from the door to the hearth must needs perform a 
kind of a dance after the manner of the chasse 
of the dancing-class; and the decorations were 
evidently modelled on suggestions in Homechat. 
Anstace's heart sank; could one possibly settle 
down here in such surroundings for a long, weary 
winter? However, chairs and tables, she reminded 
herself, were not the important point; the ques- 
tion was what would the Miss Pinnefeathers be 
like? 

After ten minutes or so a small person drifted, 
as It were, casually into the room, looking very 
chilly in a skim-milk blue " pneumonia " blouse 



138 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

showing rather too much withered neck. She came 
forward so far as the devious path permitted, but 
with so vague and irresponsible an air that An- 
stace doubted whether she might be one of the 
P. G.s, and said questioningly, " Miss Pinne- 
feather? " 

" Oh, no," with an engaging giggle, " I am 
only Miss Ella," as a child might say, " I am only 
the baby; it is no good to transact business with 
me." But she proved her responsibility by pro- 
ceeding to pour out a copious trickle of apology 
for her sister's absence, for her own delay, for the 
fact that the drawing-room fire had not been 
lighted earlier; indeed, her incriminations seemed 
to include even a smut on the maid's nose. 

Anstace was not interested in the reasons for 
the failure of things on this particular afternoon 
to come up to the usual standard, but after some 
patience was able to edge in an inquiry respecting 
rooms. 

Miss Ella bridled a little. "Of course," she 
said, "you quite understand we do not let lodg- 
ings; we only receive from time to time a guest 
who may wish for quiet and country air, to share 
our little refined home." 

"I quite understand," said Anstace; "but I 
thought perhaps you might be able to let me have 
a small sitting-room to myself? " She felt that to 
live always in this atmosphere of restless chatter 
would be an impossibility. 

"Well, perhaps it might be managed if my 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 139 

sister approved ; it would have to be considered in 
the terms of course — inclusive terms; every luxury 
of a refined home, baths hot and cold, cheerful 
musical society. But we don't like our guests to 
absent themselves from our little circle in the even- 
ings ; it breaks up things so ; we always play games 
—for love of course — " with a giggle; " bridge 
and progressive whist and pit. Oh, we are quite 
up-to-date, I assure you." 

Anstace with difficulty repressed a shudder at 
the prospect of an endless succession of such even- 
ings. Miss Ella was perhaps aware of a lack of 
enthusiasm in her face, for she hastened to add, 
" You know we are not in the very least like a 
boarding-house; you must not imagine you would 
be thrown with all sorts of people. Dear Lady 
Huddersfield, who has lived with us for years, is 
quite a guarantee against any mixture. Indeed 
you may see by the little refinements of our draw- 
ing-room " She paused, expecting polite 

phrases of appreciation to complete her sentence, 
her glance resting with fond pride on the dusty 
palms and pink tissue paper lamp-shades which 
stood in odd comers, but none were forthcoming. 

"I don't know," began Anstace doubtfully; 
" you see I came into the country entirely for 
quiet; but perhaps if you cared to show me the 

rooms " For somewhere or other she felt 

she must go; she could not quarter herself longer 
on the hospitality of the Bartlemys, and the place, 
spite of its austerity, had laid hold of her; she 



140 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

did not want to set forth again to unknown 
localities. 

" My sister will be here directly ; she will show 
you the rooms," said Miss Ella with her childishly 
irresponsible air. "Haw did you hear of us? 
We don't advertise." 

" Mr. Whitethome mentioned you; I asked him 
if he could recommend me any rooms." 

"What, the old gentleman? Poor old thing; 
it is so very sad, isn't it? " 

"No, the son," said Anstace, with a passing 
wonder what was so very sad; she had gathered 
the death of his wife was of the far past. 

"What, Mr. Peter?" Miss Ella simpered and 
bridled and tucked her chin into her lace collar 
with a most engaging air of consciousness. 

"What, does the wind set in that quarter?" 
thought Anstace ; " she must be nearly double his 
age." 

" Mr. Peter Is a very great friend of ours," 
began Miss Ella, with an air which suggested 
"no poaching on this manor allowed," but con- 
fidential revelations were cut short by the arrival 
of the elder sister, evidently the business partner. 
The two sisters were very much alike, both small 
and spare, but where Miss Ella was meagre. Miss 
Becky was angular, where Miss Ella was faded. 
Miss Becky was withered ; whereas Miss Ella was 
kittenish. Miss Becky showed the claws of the full- 
grown cat. 

" Becky," began the more impulsive sister, 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 141 

" this is a friend of Mr. Peter's who wants to 
come here for the winter." 

" Well," put in Anstace, " I just came to make 
inquiry. I really wanted lodgings, only it seems 
there are none nearer than Stonedge. I am afraid 
I am not a very sociable person, and your sister 
was telling me you like to make your inmates part 
of the family. If I came I should like a sitting- 
room to myself." 

Miss Becky looked her up and down. "We 
are very particular about references," she said 
drily, 

Anstace suddenly realised the difficulty of her 
position. If she got her father to write, recom- 
mending her as " Mrs. Claude," as she for a mo- 
ment thought of doing, she must reveal that she 
was not with Jenny, as she wanted her home 
people to think. " I believe the Vicar would say 
a good word for me," she said, for she could 
really think of no one else. 

"How long have you known him?" pursued 
Miss Becky relentlesly. 

" Since yesterday," would have sounded too ab- 
surd. "Oh, only since I have been here," she 
said with conscious futility. 

" I suppose you knew Mr. Peter in London? " 

" No, he is a new acquaintance, too. He it was 
who recommended me to come to you." 

" Oh, and where are you staying now ? at the 
inn?" 

" No, at the Coastguard Station at St. Rock's." 



142 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" Why, I thought they were not allowed to take 
lodgers." 

" No, they do not; I have been there as a visitor 
for a few weeks." 

" Then if those are the only people you could 
refer me to, I don't think there is any use in my 
showing you the rooms. Good-morning." 

And Anstace found herself outside the glass 
porch before she quite realised that she was being 
dismissed with contumely. She could have laughed 
at herself when she recalled how she had been try- 
ing to brace herself to endure the Miss Pinne- 
feathers and their refinements, but there was a 
sting in it, too. 

" Oh Becky 1 " cried Miss Ella, aghast, " don't 
you think perhaps Mr. Peter will be vexed? " 

" I don't care if he is vexed or no. Much good 
it would do you to have Mr. Peter coming here to 
visit this Mrs. Claude, as she calls herself, in that 
sitting-room she was so keen to have to herself. 
From all I hear there is something mysterious 
about that young woman, and I don't intend to 
have her here." 

At the other end of the village Anstace overtook 
Peter Whitethome, and seeing he wanted to speak 
to her, dismounted. 

" I have just been lodging-hunting on your be- 
half," he began. 

" How kind of you I and I on my own, but I 
have had no success." 

"Ah, the Miss Pinnefeathers ; " he glanced 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 143 

down the street. " I might have known it wouldn't 
do. I felt It directly I had told you, only at the 
moment I couldn't think of anything else. You see 
they are not quite ladies, though very well mean- 
ing and — and nice in their way ; they are very kind 
in the parish, and the only people to do decorations 
and things. Their father had a general shop at 
Stonedge with a brandi out here, and he made a 
good bit and built The Home Nest to retire to. 
The mother, who was a homely old soul, died not 
long ago, and since then they have set up for rather 
fine with their Lady Huddersfield, who after all is 
only the widow of a mayor of Stonedge in whose 
time a jubilee or something happened* But of 
course I see you couldn't stand them." 

" You mistake," said Anstacc with a little rue- 
ful laugh. *^ I was heroically making up my mind 
to the refinements, and behold it is I who am not 
good enough to associate with Lady Hudders- 
field; I have no references, you see. They are 
quite right. How can they or anybody else tell 
that I am the sort of person they would like to 
take into their house ? It must seem queer to you, 
but I am afraid I can't explain." 

" Of course not; it is quite unnecessary," assev- 
erated Peter, blushing with eagerness; *^but I 
think, I hope, I may have found you something if 
it is not too out-of-the-way. It is right out beyond 
the quarry villages; it is horribly lonesome, but it 
is dean and roomy, and with the dearest woman I 
know. It is an old house; it belongs to a quarry 



144 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

owner, and was built by his forefathers generations 
ago. They used to have a fine business, but in 
these miserable days of brick and slate it is so 
dwindled that he only just makes a living of it. 
He lives there himself with his old foreman, who 
is invalided, and the wife does for him. The house 
is big and it is lonely for her, so he told her she 
might let a room or two if she could find a very 
quiet inmate, so I thought of you." 

" That sounds nice," said Anstace, " but I am 
afraid the same difficulty of references will shat- 
ter it." She sighed. 

^' I don't think so; not when Abigail sees you. 
But I must tell you the drawbacks: old Hiram 
Chinchen, Abigail's husband, is a bit dotty, but as 
harmless and innocent as a child. Should you 
mind?" 

" Not the least. I like the notion of the quiet 
out there. Will you give me the address please, 
that I may go and look at it." 

He hesitated a minute. ^^ It is out towards the 
Golden Bowl," he said. "You go up through 
the village, then through the second gate to the 
left and follow the track; you must keep on 
through the little hamlet of Crick and past about 
four quarry claims — I think there are stiles over 
the walls — and then you will see the grey stone 
house standing up against the sky." 

" And the name ? " 

" Hers is Mrs. Chinchen, the master's is Chris- 
toiJier Angel." 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 145 

*' I meant the name of the house in case I wanted 
to write first." 

*^ I didn't want to tell you the name till you had 
seen it, but I suppose you will have to know some 
time; it is called Mount Misery." 

*^ Then that will exactly suit me," said Anstace. 



Ill 

Mount Misery I Anstace had spoken with a cer- 
tain sharpness in her tone, and had ridden away 
into the gathering dusk before Peter had found 
any words of answer; he stood looking after her 
with a world of ruth in his kind eyes ; then he 
turned into the Vicarage gate with a sigh. " After 
all it is Mount Misery for most of us," he said to 
himself, setting his square jaw grimly, ** and weVc 
got to climb it whether or no." 

Yet Anstace was not set against the proposed 
dwelling-place by its ominous name; rather it 
seemed to draw her in sympathy. "Was ever 
woman quite so miserable as I am ? " she said to 
herself; " it seems made for me." So next day 
she took her way up the steep, stony tracks, 
through the poverty-stricken quarry hamlets, 
which were only not squalid because the stone 
walls, stone roofs, stone linhays and sheds, and the 
solid building of an earlier day lent dignity to their 
bareness; they were weather-beaten, not decayed. 
After four of them, as Mr. Whitethome had said, 
came a gate and then a succession of quarry 
claims, divided from each other by high walls of 
rough, unmortared stone, which she had already 
learned to climb, having once mastered the fact 

146 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 147 

that what the natives call a stile means a place 
where a few jutting stones aiford a foothold. 

It was lonesome exceedingly, though the clink, 
clink, clink of unseen hammers told of labourers 
underground. It would have been easier, she 
thought, to believe in gnomes. Across the last 
and highest field, beyond three lofty mounds of 
scaur and a capstan with a great crooked arm 
sticking out, she discerned grey gables against the 
sky, and made no doubt she had reached her des- 
tination. Yet could it be Mount Misery smiling 
at her with its little dooryard, enclosed by a low 
wall of the universal stone, gay with yellow and 
brown chrysanthemums in the shelter of the house 
and projecting porch, to which a little green gate 
and flagged path gave access? The windows 
looked smiling, too, with the short saffron curtains 
and scarlet geraniums in dean-scrubbed pots, and 
the door stood hospitably ajar. 

There was a bright brass knocker to which An- 
stace applied herself, but nothing happened, so 
after a second knock she pushed the door open and 
stepped into a broad-flagged hall from which a 
black oak staircase went winding up. A door to 
her right stood wide open, and within it she saw an 
old man with rosy cheeks and a silver beard, 
seated at a round mahogany table with a red-and- 
blue cloth on which the tea-things were laid. He 
was very busy feeding three cats, one on his shoul- 
der, one on his knee, and the third on the table by 
his plate. He was talking to them just as a little 



148 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

child might, and though he looked up as the 
shadow of a stranger darkened the doorway, he 
took no notice of her. 

She drew nearer. " Is this Mount Misery ? " 
she asked gently, as one might speak to a shy child, 
afraid of startling him. 

He nodded and went on with his baby-talk tq 
the cats. 

"Is Mrs. Chinchen in? Can I see her?" she 
pursued. 

He vouchsafed no direct answer, but called 
" Mother I Mother 1 " in a quavering voice. 

"What is it, dear? I'm coming." And Abi- 
gail Chinchen's tall, comfortable figure and tran- 
quil face appeared through an inner door. " Dear 
me, ma'am," she said, " I am afraid you knocked 
without my hearing you. I hope you did not 
wait long. I had just stepped through to the back 
to fetch him a new-laid egg for his tea ; he couldn't 
fancy his dinner. Mr. Angel took him up to the 
quarry this afternoon for a bit while I red up, and 
he has come in tired and hungry, so you'll kindly 
just excuse me getting him his tea. You must let 
me give you a cup after your long walk. It'll 
be the lady Mr. Whitethome was speaking to me 
of?" 

" He told me," said Anstace, " that possibly 
you might have a couple of rooms you could spare 
for the winter." She spoke quite meekly, mindful 
of her late rebuif. 

" There are two rooms upstairs which you shall 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 149 

see presently when you have rested a bit and had 
some tea ; they're very .plain ; you'd most likely be 
wanting something better furnished. You'll un- 
derstand please that the house is not my own: I 
couldn't say anything definite without consulting 
Mr. Angel, and he wouldn't speak very decided 
when I told him Mr. Whitethome was inquiring. 
We understood — ^at least I did — that it was for a 
widow lady, and I fancied not very young. Mr. 
Angel is rather queer in his notions and sort of shy. 
I don't know what he would say to a young lady.'* 

" It will be the inevitable references again, I 
suppose," thought Anstace. Aloud she said, ** But 
you wouldn't call me young with this white hair, 
and I assure you I am very quiet; it is for quiet I 
want to come. I am not a widow, but my husband 
is abroad." 

Abigail looked dubiously at the white hair, the 
slender figure, the fair, clear skin. Not years but 
shock, she was sure, had blanched those abundant 
locks, and her heart yearned over the pathetic for- 
lomness which not all Anstace's brave resolve 
could banish from the tones of her voice. 

"Well, we'll see about it," she said in her 
motherly way. " But Mr. Angel and me was 
thinking more of an elderly person; I wouldn't 
have minded an infirm one that I could see to." 

" I should have thought your hands were full 
enough," said Anstace, smiling as Abigail tucked 
a napkin daintily under the silver beard. 

" Better full hands than an empty heart. And 



I50 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

he's not a bit of trouble; just get him up in the 
morning and put him to bed in the early evening, 
and he'll amuse himself all day long with his cats, 
so long as he's got me or Mr. Angel in sight, but 
if I'm upstairs for a minute or out at the back, *tis 
Mother I Mother! till I'm with him again.*' 

*' I noticed he called you Mother; you have no 
children at home with you, I suppose." 

'* I've never had chick nor child, but 'tis his 
fancy to call me Mother; they both do it." 

Tea over, Mrs. Chmchen conducted Anstace up 
the shallow uncarpeted oak stairs, shining with 
beeswax, worn low and pale just on the tread in 
die middle of each step, while the comers were 
black with age. Anstace liked the dignity of the 
stairs; the balustrade was broad and the posts at 
the comers richly carved. The rooms were both 
panelled to the ceiling, painted in light drab, and 
the fumiture, what there was of it, seemed coeval 
with the house. In the bedrocnn was a wooden 
bedstead with a carved headboard, an old mahog- 
any press, and chest of drawers and not much else ; 
In the sitting-room a comer cupboard with glass 
doors, an oval oak table with flaps, and a few 
black-framed, rush-bottomed chairs. The carpet 
was threadbare, the windows were fumlshed with 
the same pleasant sunny yellow short curtains as 
those downstairs, but instead of geraniums there 
were patchwork cushions in the deep window- 
seats. 

Anstace stood a minute at the window, leaning 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 151 

against the shutter, which was folded back into 
the window-place in old-time fashion, and let her 
eyes wander across the narrow strip of garden, 
beyond the grey hill with its windlass and heaps 
of scaur, beyond the furzy hollow to the great 
rampart of down, beyond again to where the 
downs folded athwart each other, leaving a little 
triangular space of deep blue across which even 
now a little lonely sail was travelling. Then she 
brought her gaze back to the austere simplicity 
of the bare room. She sighed. " I think I could 
make myself happy here," she said. 

" I could make it more comfortable if you 
came," said Abigail, relenting; "there's many 
little things I could get to fill up." 

" No, don't ! " cried Anstace, with a vivid recol- 
lection of the adornments of Home Nest, though 
indeed she felt instinctively that Abigail would be 
Incapable of such atrocities; but somehow there 
seemed to her sick soul to be refreshment in get- 
ting down to the bare elements of necessity, table, 
chair, and bed: what did one want more? 

" Well of course there'll be the more room for 
your things; I know ladies like to have their own 
flower vases and photo frames and what-not about 
them, just to their own taste." 

"You'll be amused when you see mine then: 
my personal possessions go into one small port- 
manteau," said Anstace with a little mirthless 
laugh as she recalled the oppressive mountain of 
ornaments, silver, enamel, filagree, under which 



152 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

she had almost groaned as package after package 
had to be undone and appropriate thanks written, 
until it seemed she had fairly exhausted the Eng- 
lish language in terms of acknowledgment. She 
had never seen them since an opal necklace, omi- 
nous gift, had been added on the wedding morn- 
ing, but she knew Charlotte had spent two whole 
days behind closed doors, packing them away. 
Then, catching Abigail's grave, considering, com- 
passionate eyes fixed upon her, she realised what 
an exceedingly foolish thing it was to say in the 
business of engaging rooms without a reference, 
and added with a hot blush, '^ It is not that I am 
so very poor in the money way; I could pay a 
quarter in advance if we come to an agreement." 

" I must consider and ask Mr. Angel ; I couldn^t 
say anything definite to-day, ma*am." And Abi- 
gail led the way downstairs. 

While she undid the gate Anstace's eye was 
caught by a square stone above the porch on which 
the name. Mount Misery, was roughly carved. 

" Why is it called by such an ill-omened name? " 
she asked. 

" 'Tis a strange name and a sad one truly, 
ma'am, but Mr. Angel would not hear of chang- 
ing it; it was called so in his father's time, and his 
father's before him, if not longer, and he's one 
who holds to old things. There is a story belong- 
ing to it, but though it all happened so long ago, 
Mr. Angel don't like it talked of. I believe it was 
to have been called Mount Pleasant, and Mount 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 153 

Pleasant truly we have found It, my good man 
and me, spite of sorrows." 

" Perhaps it may come to be Mount Pleasant to 
me, too: do let me come," said Anstace. " Make 
Mr. Angel let me come. Tell him my hair is 
quite grey, and I am a person that has known 
trouble, for indeed it is true." Then seeing a 
smile come into Mrs. Chinchen's face, she turned 
and confronted a tall white figure, white with stone 
dust from head to heel, hat, corduroy suit, and 
boots alike. This person took off his hat to her 
with an air which working clothes could not render 
less than stately. 

" The lady who wished to see the rooms, I pre- 
sume, madam ? " he said. 

Anstace bowed. " I like them so much," she 
said with direct simplicity, though feeling a little 
embarrassed by his having overheard her foolish 
reference to her age. ^' I should like if I might 
to engage them at once for a month or a quarter, 
as you might prefer. I should be a very quiet 
inmate," she added, '^ for I come purposely for 
seclusion." 

" Though the house is mine, it Is practically for 
my good housekeeper to decide. It will make a 
difference to her ; none to me. Shall I talk it over 
with Mrs. Chinchen and let you know ? " 

"Couldn't we arrange It now?" said Anstace 
boldly. " I do so want to be settled ; I should like 
to come In on Monday if I could." 

"That Is rather soon; there will be some ar- 



154 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

rangements to make, some things to get, won't 
there. Mother? The rooms are too bare for a 
lady to inhabit." 

" The lady says she prefers them as they are. 
Shall we say for a month certain, sir? Then we 
shall see how we get on." For Abigail's heart 
yearned over the desolate-looking girl, who said 
her whole possessions were in one little portman- 
teau, and who yet had the air of having be^n all 
her life lapped in silk. 

So the bargain was struck, the rent proposed 
seeming to Anstace, used to the prices of the fash- 
ionable sea-side resort, ridiculously low, and she 
sped through the dusk back to the coastguard sta- 
tion, triumphing in having at last found herself- a 
place where to lay her head. 

" Is this truly what you wish. Mother? " said 
Christopher Angel, as they lingered at the gate 
watching Anstace's slight figure disappear into the 
dusk. *^ I seemed to be hurried on before I quite 
knew — ^the poor little creature looks so forlorn. 
Her hair may be white, but truly she is but a girl." 

" Poor child, yes. I doubt there's a tragedy 
behind. Whether the Reverend Peter knows it or 
not I couldn't say, but I could see his kind heart 
was full of pity for her. I'll be right glad to 
have her here and do my best for her, and though 
she says she likes to be alone, it'll be company for 
me just to feel there's someone in the house the 
long days through." 

*' Well if you are satisfied, I am, and if she 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 155 

gives any trouble it is on you it will fall. And I 
believe the more trouble anyone gives you, the 
more pleasure you take in them," 

Christopher Angel was something more than 
an average specimen of the quarriers which the 
peculiar conditions of the Isle have bred up as a 
race apart ; he was one of their natural rulers. His 
forbears had made what was reckoned almost a 
fortune, and had added the business of stone mer- 
chant to that of quarry owner: the owner of King 
Charles's day had been able to put a dozen men 
into the field to serve the king. They had stone- 
yards down on the quay and ships in the harbour, 
for the export trade used to be done entirely by 
sea. They had built them the grey stone house 
up by the quarries, unpretending enough, a sort of 
little homestead, but not without a dignity of its 
own in its restrained and sober lines, and its solid 
strength had well withstood the wear and tear of 
time. 

Their sons had been given an excellent school- 
ing, generation after generation, at the grammar 
school in the county town, and so often had the 
head of the house been chosen Warden that the 
dignity had come to be regarded as almost heredi- 
tary in the family. Christopher himself had been 
Warden repeatedly, and in that capacity exercised 
a kind of petty magistracy in strictly local matters: 
registering marriages amongst the marblers, set- 
tling complicated questions of " under-creeping " 
that were apt to arise, adjudicating quarrels, and 



156 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

valuing claims that were about to change hands. 
His trusted sagacity was always deferred to, and 
yet the man was, and felt himself, a failure. 

For the quarries had not gone forward with 
the times; Stonedge had developed, but it had 
developed on the lines of the jerry-built villa — 
lightly tossed together of brick and slate. No 
one would build now with the heavy seasoned 
timbers that were needed to support the slab-stone 
roofs that distinguished the Stonedge of an earlier 
day, and no one cared whether his work would 
stand his own time, let alone that of his posterity, 
since he only built to sell. Let posterity build its 
own houses. It was cheaper to import trumpery 
brick by the new railway than to cart the heavy 
stone down from the hills, cheaper to be for ever 
daubing the footpaths with stinking asphalt that 
rotted away in a season than to lay cool, broad, 
solid paving stones ; and for the new cemetery peo- 
ple must have marble crosses; the old headstones 
had quite gone out. 

So Christopher Angel, who had inherited a fine 
business, saw it crumbling away through no fault 
of his; he worked hard, and saw his great stacks 
of stone grow and grow, none asking for it. One 
by one the men he used to employ were dismissed, 
for the quarry would not pay for working; often 
for weeks he worked alone, but for his apprentice, 
at squaring the stone already above ground and 
making it ready for the slow and uncertain market. 
He had long given up his vessels and his yards in 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 157 

the town, once so busy, and for years past a deep, 
settled melancholy had grown upon him. It was 
not that he had embarrassments or claims he could 
not meet; his diminished business was still suffi- 
cient to keep the simple household going in com- 
fort under Mrs. Chinchen's frugal management. 
Even had her services not been so valuable to him, 
he would still have given a home to his old fore- 
man and faithful friend, whom he would no more 
dream of turning adrift than a feudal lord of olden 
time would have turned off an old servant past 
work. 

What weighed him down was the bitter sense of 
futility and uselessness; the consciousness of good 
work in his arms, of good material in his growing 
stacks that no one wanted. The knowledge that 
the world of his own day, that world to which he 
ought to belong, asked only for the cheap, for 
that which he had not to give it, that he had no 
place, but, like his own stone, was pushed aside like 
useless lumber, was eating away his energy. For 
he was not one who could change : to him it would 
have seemed almost a crime to sell the property of 
his ancestors, and push into the world with some 
new process of hasty money-making; and if he 
had been willing, the conveyance of quarry prop- 
erty is hedged round with the complicated restric- 
tions of the old Charter. So he lived on at 
Mount Misery, silently brooding over wrongs for 
which no man was responsible, but which were 
none the less bitter. 



IV 

Long before the probationary month was over 
Anstace had so fitted into her niche at Mount 
Misery that no question as to her staying on arose 
on either side. Christopher Angel found his 
melancholy calm in no way molested by the pres- 
ence of this sad-faced, white-haired g^rl, and on 
their rare encounters on the stairs or by the garden 
gate nothing beyond a grave bow ever passed be- 
tween them. Old Hiram soon learned to ^greet 
her with a childish smile and liked her to stroke 
his pussies, but his wandering wits could rarely 
compass any talk, and if she spoke to him he al- 
ways called for " Mother." From Abigail she 
asked but little service, much less indeed than that 
dear woman would have liked to render, for she 
was concerned to observe how desolate her young 
lodger seemed, neither sending nor receiving any 
letters, and seeming to have neither pleasures nor 
duties, nor outlet to her life. 

Anstace had thought by reducing life to its 
simplest elements to deaden her soul to the level 
of mere animal existence, to eat, sleep, and wake 
as a cow might do and at last perhaps cease to 
think. Then when thought would wake she tried 
to hush herself by being alone with nature in wild 
places, and found it was in vain, as all else had 
been in vain, for there is no cheating sorrow. At 

158 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 159 

home they had tried to distract her; she had even 
tried a little to distract herself, but that had been 
utterly futile and worse, for she had felt that un- 
less she could have quiet, and hide from prying 
eyes, she should go mad. Here there were no 
prying eyes, none knew of her trouble, and none 
asked any questions; she had her wish in simply 
being taken for granted and let be. 

But the human spirit refuses to lead the life of 
a cow. How should one who has done nothing, 
tried to think of nothing from dawn to dark, ex- 
pect to sleep o' nights? And if she could not 
keep thought and remembrance at bay through 
the daylight hours, even though she tired herself 
out tramping over the wintry hills, battling with 
the rain and wind, how should she be anything but 
an easy prey when night had spread its bat's-wing 
over the silent house ? And the nights were so ter- 
ribly long; they went to bed so early at Mount 
Misery, and where was the use, for one who had 
nothing to do, to rise by candlelight. 

She hardly knew which was the most intoler- 
able, to see the face of her lover before her, 
painted on the dark, his eyes glowing with ardent 
tenderness as he bent them on her, and to ask in 
dumb agony what she had done that in a moment 
he had turned his back on her for ever ; or to strain 
her fancy to paint it once again, and to meet with 
blank refusal, with a paralysed incapacity to recall 
a single feature. For though she sometimes cried 
out for numbness to deaden her anguish, yet to 



i6o THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

forget, that would be more terrible than all; to 
feel that all her sufferings would be borne down 
the stream of time like withered leaves all vain 
and worthless, as though they had never been. 
Sometimes it seemed that she could have consented 
to her misery if she could have seen any purpose in 
it, if she could have believed that in any way, how- 
ever obscure, it could work good for him ; but the 
wanton uselessness of this waste of her life, that 
was the intolerable, the thing that could not 
be borne. And yet notwithstanding she had to 
bear it 

She had really been less .wretched at St. Rock's : 
her trouble had been fresher, hope had not so 
utterly died. Then she was of use ; she missed the 
waiting on Brenda, even the fidgety care and dust- 
ing of the innumerable little trumpery knicknacks 
and photograph frames which she used to iind so 
tiresome, but which she always performed care- 
fully out of a regard for her hostess's feelings. 
At any rate it had helped to consume some of the 
long weary morning hours. She liked the auster- 
ity of her new home, but its simplicity gave her 
nothing to do, especially as Abigail's housemaid- 
ing was of the most thorough description. Ex- 
cept for a few scarce flowers the sole adornment 
of her room was a somewhat discoloured and spot- 
ted print, depicting what looked like a game of 
football on the shores of an inland sea. She used 
to amuse herself trying to make it out till she got 
to know every line of it. 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR i6i 

Then she devised a strange occupation. In the 
brief weeks of separation which occurred during 
her engagement Basil had liked her to write to 
him every day, and she was one of those who have 
the power of putting themselves on paper to cer- 
tain correspondents. She would write to him 
still; letters that would never be sent; make-be- 
lieve letters as It were, to cheat herself with the 
fancy that somewhere, out of sight, he still lived 
and still was hers. She described her journey, 
her strange arrival, all the odd little adventures 
that had befallen her since, and when her letters 
were finished she consigned them to a secret 
drawer in the back of the bureau. 

One grey December day, shut in with sea-fog 
which made the distant headlands loom vaguely 
like mountains, and reduced sea and sky to one 
denomination, Anstace sat wearily by the fire trying 
to read. She had been out all the morning, half 
fearful of losing herself in the mist, and walking 
warily for fear of coming suddenly to the edge of 
the world and toppling over, but at last when the 
clammy fog had become hardly distinguishable 
from rain, had given up and come indoors to spend 
a long afternoon as best she might. To-day the 
letters failed her ; she could not believe in them ; it 
* was like talking vainly at a dead wall. 

It was with a distinct sensation of pleasure that 
she heard steps mounting the stairs, and found her 
solitude invaded by the announcement of a call 
from the curate. 



1 62 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" Why," she cried, as she greeted him warmly, 
^'what a day to come out here I Aren't you 
very wet?" 

*' Nothing to matter; I picked a bad day on 
purpose to ensure me a welcome. I thought you 
might be feeling dull if you couldn't get out 
much and visitors in these parts are not over 
frequent." 

*' No indeed; I was thinking perhaps you would 
look me up." 

" Well I waited a little while to give you time 
to settle and shake down." 

'^ It did not take me long to settle," said An- 
stace with a little mirthless laugh. " About half 
an hour at the outside; I don't travel with much 
impedimenta as you see." 

"Will it do?" he asked, looking round. It 
was very unlike the kind of room he associated 
with women-folk, far barer than the masculine 
den where he and his father made themselves so 
snug, yet he liked it. A few softening touches 
had been introduced by Abigail; some thick red 
curtains at the window Inside the short yellow 
ones, and a handful of crimson gladwyn berries 
in a glazed crock on the table. 

" It will do perfectly," she said; " it is just what 
I wanted and I am so much obliged to you; Mrs. 
Chinchen is a dear woman, as you said, and takes 
the greatest care of me." 

But though her words were of satisfaction, her 
voice was so weary, so toneless, that he looked at 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 163 

her with concern. Surely her face was thinner, 
her hair whiter than when he saw her last. 

" I wonder if it is right for you to be living here 
in this solitude without a soul to speak to/' he said. 
I am afraid after all I did you wrong in proposing 
it. Have you no—?" he pulled himself up — 
" No, no, I beg your pardon, I did not mean to 
catechise you." 

Anstace wondered what he had noticed in her 
to make him speak with such sudden compunction ; 
there were no swollen or tear-stained eyelids to 
announce grief; her eyes were dry and hard; such 
griefs as turn the hair white dry up the sources of 
tears. 

*' It is all right, thanks," she said; "it is just 
what I wanted. Please don't reproach yourself 
because it is quiet ; it is what I asked for. I dare- 
say it looks rather bare, but I think I am a little 
sick of what Mrs. Malaprop would call ' articles 
of bigotry and virtue'; it was my fancy to get 
rid of them for a bit and reduce life to its simplest 
elements. I am trying an experiment you see." 

" And haw is it succeeding? " 

Anstace was silent, for it was being slowly 
borne in upon her that it was going to be an utter 
failure. For is not such an experiment fore- 
doomed to failure ? Is there any way of cheating 
sorrow ? 

He did not repeat his question: even in this he 
might be treading on delicate ground. Above all 
things he wanted to let this sorrowful woman feel 



1 64 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

that here she was safe from prying. He turned 
a little shy, and tried to read an inspiration in the 
crown of his hat. Anstace swiftly came to the 
rescue. 

" I hope you have noticed my one work of art. 
Don't you think I am really very lucky not to be 
surrounded by monstrosities from Pear's Annual 
in gilt frames?" 

"Oh that's a splendid old thing; I always 
rather covet it. They are hard to come by, and 
though I have a periodical rummage in the curi- 
osity shops at Stonedge, I have never been able to 
get hold of one." 

" But what is it? Though I have studied it 
till I know every line of it, I can't make it out. 
Is it a football scrimmage, or what ? " 

"Oh, don't you know? Mr. Angel can till 
you about it better than I can. It is one of the 
ancient customs of the Island; there was a yearly 
ceremony of kicking a football across the bound- 
ary, over the neck of land that makes our island 
not an island. The meeting to bind apprentices 
and so forth, and to elect a Warden for the year 
is still held, and the dinner eaten of course; Eng- 
lishmen would never drop the dinner, but the 
football I believe is now carried instead of kicked." 

" What a pity. Old customs should never be 
let drop, even when they seem unmeaning; there 
is always a meaning behind that is worth preserv- 
ing. I shouldn't have thought this part of the 
world had ever dropped anything. Island or no, 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 165 

it is more insular in the literal meaning of the 
word than any place I ever was in/' 

"You feel that, too? To me, coming back 
from a London parish with all its struggling and 
striving, with its seething masses of humanity 
trampling each other down, its modem machinery 
for bringing religion to bear that fusses so much 
and does so little, it seems as if the clock had been 
put back fifty years at least. And I'm free to 
confess that the contrast hardly makes for the 
doctrines of Evolution and Progress." 

"Ah, that was when you tried Sodalism and 
found it wanting ? ** 

" I don't know that we tried it much, at least in 
its most thorough-going form; we discussed it a 
good deal, and at our Men's Debating Club these 
questions used to come up. It was stimulating." 

Anstace wondered again that this man with 
youth and health and the unbroken energy of 
youth, because it was hopeless to bring in Utopia, 
would rather choose to vegetate here in the coun- 
try, doing work which even supposing the old 
vicar was past it, might surely have been per- 
formed by some tired, used-up man whose best 
days were past; but this time she did not give ut- 
terance to her thought. 

Meanwhile Mrs. Chinchen had entered the 
room and was laying the table in homely fashion 
with white cloth, brown loaf and a comb of the 
peculiar fragrant honey of that heathy district. 
Peter rose hastily. 



1 66 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" I must be getting on," he said. " I'll look in 
on Chinchen on my way down. I suppose Mr. 
Angel is at the quarry ? " 

*' Indeed/' cried Anstace, " you mustn't go till 
you have had some tea. I was just going to ring 
for it, only, you see, Mrs. Chinchen forestalls my 
every wish and has brought a cup and plate for 
you." 

Nothing loath, he drew a chair to the table, for 
this new parishioner of his interested him greatly ; 
the human curiosity in him longed to know, the 
instinct of the pastor longed to help, but the gen- 
tleman, which was as strong in him as either, re- 
frained from all intrusiveness. He was glad that 
at least she did not repulse his friendliness; some 
day, perhaps, he would learn what had whitened 
her hair and driven her forth from home and kin- 
dred, but if he was ever to be helpful to her, he 
must bide her time. 

The talk ran upon the old Charter, and she 
asked him what it was. 

"Why, it is a charter conferring exclusive 
rights upon the marblers of this district, confirmed 
to them by Queen Elizabeth, but going no man 
can tell how far back, by which the stone quarries 
may only be worked by an Island man, bom and 
bred. Not only no stranger, but no base-bom 
man may even work in them, far less own them, 
and this has made them descend from father to 
son in a kind of perpetual entail. They have their 
own Warden, and their own laws and customs, and 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 167 

it has made them quite a race apart. In days of 
restlessness and universal change Stonedge men 
have stayed in their own land, been apprenticed 
to their old neighbours, succeeded to the rights 
and privileges of their fathers, married in their 
own community, and, bred up in the discipline and 
rules of their order, have developed a certain type, 
both of looks and temper ; rugged yet law-abiding, 
dogged in the maintenance of their rights and 
loyal to each other, unfriendly to strangers, and 
with a certain density and want of malleability 
not unlike the stone in which they work. Things 
are beginning to move a bit down Stonedge way; 
some of the property there has got into other 
hands, and the coming of the railway has wrought 
its inevitable changes, but up here we still live as 
our fathers did before us." 

"That helps to explain Mr. Angel. He calls 
himself a workingman, and works with the men 
in his quarry, yet he is essentially a gentleman." 

" He is a survival ; for centuries he and his have 
wrought with their own hands in a labour that is 
not light, yet for centuries they have had the tra- 
ditions of owners of land and employers of other 
men's labour. He is greatly looked up to in spite 
of being so unsuccessful in the race for wealth. 
He has been elected Warden of the Charter again 
and again, and all local differences are submitted 
to his judgment and experience. Ask a quarryman 
anything concerning the old rights and customs, 
and he will invariably say, ' You go to Mr. 



1 68 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Angel ; he^Il tell 'ee. He understands them things ; 
he can rade the black letter ; why, he Ve a read the 
Charter which be kep' in a very ancient, precious 
box up to Curfew Castle.' That is my advice to 
you. He will tell you a lot about it; it is full of 
the most curious details.'' 

Anstace smiled and shook her head ^^ I should 
never dare ask. I am here on sufferance, on the 
understanding that I do not in any way molest my 
landlord. I don't know if he is a woman-hater, 
but I am given to understand that he disapproves 
of young women, especially of the useless class 
who neither sew nor spin." 

" I've a great respect for Christopher Angel," 
said Peter, '^ but life has soured, or at least sad- 
dened him; less, I fancy, for money losses than 
because the modem world is moving away from 
him and has no use for him or his wares; both 
are in truth too good for it." 

" Oh," cried Anstace, the look coming into her 
eyes that Peter had caught there once or twice 
before, and which went to his heart like the cry 
of a child, '^ isn't that the very bitterness of death? 
To be tossed aside, one for whom neither God 
nor man has any use." 

*^ But that is never so : it can only be seeming. 
To think it could be cuts at the very root of faith." 

Anstace made no response. There were mo- 
ments when to her the very Heaven seemed brass 
and its doors iron. There was a minute's silence. 
Peter, recalling her words about being an outsider 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 169 

and an alien, was wondering how far it was pos- 
sible to press the consolations of faith on one for 
whom faith was but an empty name, for he had 
taken it for granted she was an agnostic of some 
sort. She had said she was neither Anglican nor 
Roman Catholic, and she certainly could belong 
to no noncomformist type with which he was ac- 
quainted. Presently he looked up and said, " I 
don't want to seem intrusive, but I can't help seeing 
you must have had some great trouble ; indeed, your 
words about the name of this house told it; you 
said, do you remember, * Mount Misery? that 
will just suit me.' I have thought of it so often, 
and hoped you might come to find it fulfil that 
promise in Hosea, * I have set the valley of Achor 
for a door of hope.' Achor means trouble, you 
know." 

" I know," said Anstace, ** one tries to hold on 
to these things, but one gets washed away from 
them when all the waves and storms go over erne." 

.*' I don't want to talk shop," said Peter, speak- 
ing in rather a boyish and shamefaced way, 
*' especially after what you told me about your 
views." 

"My views? What did I say? I don't re- 
member saying anything." 

" Why, about being an alien ; didn't you mean 
you were an agnostic as so many people are, or 
fancy they are in these days? " 

" An agnostic ? No, indeed ; far from it, I be- 
long to the Orthodox Conununion." 



I70 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" Why, how awfully interesting 1 I don't think 
I ever met a member of that Church before. Are 
you Russian?" 

"No, I am not Russian ^^ She paused 

abruptly, conscious of the difficulty of explaining 
her anomalous religious position; but he went on 
eagerly, " Do tell me about it. I have read a 
good deal of the subject historically, but I have 
never come across it as a real living faith. It 
always seems somehow an anachronism in the 
modem world." 

" I know: I used to fancy so; and yet it is a 
faith that thousands live and die in — ^would die 
for. But don't imagine I can tell you much; I 
am but a novice." 

"You were not brought up in it then, then 
why ? — Oh, I beg your pardon ; I know that Is one 
of the indiscreetest of questions." 

" It is one I can't answer, but I am not sorry 
you asked it, because I am so new to it all, so 
thrown back upon myself, I should like to ask 
you whether in your judgment I may not avail 
myself of the two branches of the same faith — 
as I truly hold they are — ^that divide the little 
chapel between them? " 

" Without submitting to either? " 

"That is what I mean. Nothing shall make 
me repudiate the one I have embraced: it seems 
the one link that holds me to — ^to the past" 

"Surely you may, answering for my part of 
it. But — forgive me — ^was it not part of your 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 171 

rite of admission to repudiate, indeed to anathe- 
matise the faith in whidi you were bred? I have 
always understood so, and I think I remember the 
Czarina refusing to do so, and it had to be modi- 
fied to meet her objections." 

'^ In the case of a Lutheran it would come to 
that ; but it is only Protestant heresy we are called 
on to abjure, and I don't think I have ever held 
any distinctively Protestant doctrine. The Greeks 
themselves do not hold Papal infallibility, nor the 
Roman doctrine of indulgence, and permit the 
Cup to the laity. There have been cases in which 
intercommunion was permitted." 

" I see. And the practices? " 

^' Ah, there indeed I do feel rather lost with- 
out guidance. There is so much that is mystical 
and symbolic, and to a beginner puzzling. One 
has to revise one's insular notions as to what con- 
stitutes superstition." 

" I believe the average Englishman regards all 
worship. that he cannot understand as supersti- 
tion. A notion has grown up among us that 
without mental comprehension there can be no 
worship. By the bye, do you understand your 
liturgy; can you follow it?" 

" Hardly yet, though I was learning. I put 
that difficulty when I was under instruction and 
the answer was, ^ It is understood in the quarter 
where it is addressed ; if the intention is right, you 
need not follow the words.' " 

" You know some Greek then? " 



172 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

"Very little real Greek; just a little Greek of 
the service books, and a smattering of Romaic." 

"Wouldn't you like some Greek bodes? Of 
course you can read the characters ? " 

"Yes, and write it; but no, I think I won't 
borrow any, thanks. I was always rather a duf- 
fer at school, and lately I haven't seemed able to 
read even an ordinary book." 

"Look here," said Peter, standing up and 
speaking with energy, " I believe you would find 
there was nothing like a tough study to help you 
over a solitary winter, and there you have the be- 
ginning in your very hand." 

She shook her head hopelessly. " I don't think 
I can," she said. 

" Nonsense I The word * can't ' ought to be ex- 
punged out of the vocabulary. If the man with 
the withered hand had said, ^ I can't,' when he 
was told to stretch it out, it would never have 
been restored whole as the other. I shall send 
up the books to-morrow: what will you have? 
Homer and a Lexicon? I will allow you a crib, 
as you are a woman. You shall have Butcher and 
Lang; they are the most literal. Or would you 
rather do Greek Testament?" 

" Greek Testament would be easier ; it is so 
much more like Romaic. But let me have the 
Homer, too; I will try and spell out a bit." 

" Capital I And if you come any croppers, the 
Pater will be delighted to help you ; he is a first- 
rate Greek scholar, and he'd love to do it. It is so 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 173 

good for him, too," he added rather wistfully, " to 
have any interests of that sort." And therewith 
he suddenly went. 

Next morning the books arrived, and Anstace 
obediently sat down to them, resolved that she 
would at least make an attempt. Yet hardly 
could books, even Homer, nor reviving acquaint- 
ance with the tongue she had so loved, turn Mount 
Misery at once into Mount Pleasant, nor open in 
the Valley of Achor a door of hope. 



V 

" You can't possibly miss it." Anstace had trav- 
elled some distance since receiving this assurance, 
and it was borne in upon her mind that she cer- 
tainly had missed it, for she had come quite 
through the hamlet of Crick, as directed, and was 
getting into the open country. 

*' Unless Lemuel Honeybun resides in a rabbit 
burrow or a quarry shaft," she said to herself, '* I 
must try back. I notice that when people tell you 
you can't possibly miss it, they usually mean you 
can't possibly find it, or at least they cannot tell 
you how. She certainly said " through the village 
and up to the left," but then again country people 
generally say left when they mean right, from an 
incapacity to grasp matters, from the point of view 
of the inquiring wayfarer." 

She began to retrace her steps in no very hope- 
ful mood. It had come on to rain heavily, and she 
was encumbered not only with an umbrella but 
with a rather unshapely brown paper parcel which 
she shifted impatiently to her other arm, being 
unused to burdens. The parcel contained her 
stoutest pair of walking shoes, for it had become 
evident that if she intended to pursue her resolve 
of walking in all weathers over these stony hills, 
she must no longer go shod delicately. At the 

174 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 175 

present rate she would soon walk through all the 
shoes she had brought. So she was on her way 
now in search of a cobbler who would add a sole 
better suited to the country to her smart little 
London footgear. *' If you take them into Ston- 
edge, my dear," Mrs. Chinchen had said, *^ they'll 
just put brown paper to them, and you'll walk 
through 'em in a week. Lemuel Honeybun will 
put sound leather and sound work into them, albeit 
it may be rough." But where did Lemuel Honey- 
bun lurk? 

As Anstace retraced her steps she saw a woman 
washing potatoes at the door of the end house of 
the little street. 

"Lemuel Honeybun?" she said, in answer to 
Anstace's query, as though astonished that any- 
one should need put the question, "why he lives 
here; he's in his workshop now just up through 
the gate." 

Over the dripping grass plunged Anstace, and 
at the top of the sloping orchard, under a gaunt 
old apple tree perceived a wooden shanty, which 
at first she took for a tool-house, but from which 
a steady tapping issued. She pushed the door. 
" May I come in? " she said. 

A quaint old man sat on a low bench, with 
bowed legs, in stiff tanned leather gaiters. His 
head was completely bald at the top save in 
the centre of the shining expanse one solitary curl 
sat up in the shape that used to be called a " cock- 
atoo." His upper lip was immensely long and his 



176 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

chin very square. He regarded Anstace mildly 
through a large pair of horn-rimmed spec- 
tacles. 

" Be seated, ma*am, pray be seated. And what 
can we do for you ? " 

Anstace produced her shoes, and holding one 
up by the heel he regarded it as though it were 
a new kind of insect presented to his notice. 

" Will they bear a good thick sole? " she asked. 

"To be sure, ma'am; to be sure; I think we 
can satisfy you.. And. where may we have the 
pleasure of sending them ? " 

Anstace wondered much who might be denoted 
by " we *' : there seemed no room for so much as 
a slim apprentice, let alone a journeyman in the 
little shed. Later she discovered that it was a 
kind of editorial " we," covering the complex per- 
sonality of Lemuel Honeybun. 

" I am living up at Mount Misery," she ex- 
plained; "I hardly like to ask you to send them 
all that way. If you will tell me when they will 
be done I will fetch them." 

" I couldn't think of it, madam ; we will send 
them. But surely it is too far for a lady to walk 
in this rain; if you will take a seat on this stool 
for a few minutes I think it may pass ; I fancy the 
clouds are lifting." 

Anstace had remained standing just within the 
doorway, and could see a yellowish gleam through 
the low-hanging orchard boughs and willingly con- 
sented to shelter for a while. The quaint old* 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 177 

fashioned manners and precise speech of the old 
man entertained her, and as he stitched and 
pierced she tried to draw him into talk. 

" So you are living at Mount Misery," he said. 
"Well, well, welll That is an odd place for a 
lady to choose, though Mr. Angel and his house- 
keeper are worthy persons, very worthy persons 
indeed. But no neighbours, no amusements, no 
anything to pass the time agreeably. Now, at 
Stonedge there is a concert now and again: no 
great matter, I admit, still they do their best, and 
we can't all be geniuses." 

The implication that she was in the presence of 
one was obvious, but she could not well put the 
question baldly. Are you a genius? so she merely 
said, " You are fond of music ? " 

" Music, ma'am, is the passion of my life. You 
can't hardly put into my hands the instrument I 
cannot perform upon in my humble way. The 
late Lord Bishop of the Diocese took a great 
fancy to me in my younger days ; it must be nigh 
on fifty years back, and he would have me to the 
Palace to play to him. He would have had me 
taught by some of the great folk in London; but 
there! I says to his lordship, like the Shunamite 
woman in the Bible, * I dwell among mine own 
people.' I didn't seem to feel the need of instruc- 
tion, not as some do ; to me it all come by nature, 
so I come home again, and here I've lived man 
and boy, and I've played the organ at the church 
at Combarrow thirty-nine year last Michaelmas. 



178 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

May I ask, madam, do you attend church at Com- 
barrow ? ** 

^' Sometimes," she answered; " I was there last 
Sunday." 

^^ Then you heard my rendering of ^ Sound an 
Alarm' as a voluntary. May I ask, were you 
pleased? " 

And fortunately she was able to reply, " Very 
much ; " for she had been struck with the power 
and expression with which the organ was played. 

The old man purred like a cat when you 
stroke it. 

" That is one of the Reverend's favourite pieces. 
A very nice taste he has. Handel and Mozart 
are his favounV^^^ same as my own; Handel in 
especial. I assure you I have often made the tears 
run down his face playing ' He Was Despised ' 
to him slow and solemn. He'll say to me some- 
times, ' I have to preach to-day, Lemuel ; I look 
to you to string me up to it. Let it be inspiring, 
or let it be touching, as the case may be, and I 
feel as if I'd half preached that sermon myself." 

*'He is an eloquent preacher," said Anstace, 
who had been astonished on the previous Sunday, 
when she had made her way to Combarrow for 
the midday service, to find her victim of the acci- 
dent by no means the feeble and decrepit old 
man she had fancied him. Grey-haired indeed, 
and fragile-looking, but quite alert and able to read 
the Lessons and preach in a singularly melodious 
voice and with a fluency which had not descended 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 179 

to the son. Decidedly, she must have hurt him 
a good deal more than she had understood at the 
time to have reduced him to such an abject con- 
dition. He looked, however, like a man whose 
nerve was not strong, and probably the sudden 
shock had overset him. 

Mr. Honeybun looked rather dubious at her 
encomium on the sermon. ^' M'yes; it is taking, is 
the Reverend's preaching, but for my part, I'd 
sooner listen to Mr. Peter any day.'* 

''There is a great simplicity and directness 
about his sermons; I thought perhaps the old 
Vicar sailed away rather over the heads of the 
congregation." 

" 'Tain't so much that : them flights of fancy 
is all very well, but if a man's life do not corre- 
spond thereunto — m — well; 'tain't for us to 
judge." 

Anstace forbore to ask a question, but these 
hints and other perplexities began to hang to- 
gether in her mind. 

" I almost wonder," said she, " that a young 
active parson like Mr. Peter should care to be 
buried down here in the country, where there is so 
little to do comparatively." 

" Ah, a many wonders at it, but not L Charity 
begins at home, says I, and if maybe you can save 
the soul of him that's nearest you, and keep his 
work from going all to pieces, why, there's your 
call, I says." 

''You mean," said Anstace doubtfully, " that a 



i8o THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

man ought to stay with an aged father, setting 
aside all calls of ambition or even duty? A 
daughter might, but a son ! " 

*^No, ma'am, I don't mean that; but I do mean 
that when an aged minister of the Gospel is in 
the bonds of Satan, a scandal to the parish, and a 
scandal to the Church, and there's nobody but his 
son can help him, why there is the call for that 
son to stay. If you'd been here a year or two 
back, you'd know what I mean. More than once 
me and Mr. Scorey — that's the churchwarden — 
have picked up the Reverend off the vestry floor, 
and had to give it out as he was took with a iit 
and there wouldn't be no service that day — ^but 
law I the people know'd well enough what sort o' 
fit that was. That don't happen now: I don't 
say as he's cured, far from it, and most like never 
will be at his age ; it had been creepin' on him so 
long; but he's ashamed before Mr. Peter and a 
bit afraid of him belike, so he only breaks out now 
and again on the quiet, and when he does Mr. 
Peter just takes the duty, and never a word 
said." 

" Oh, what a terrible trial I " said Anstace. 

^' You may say so, ma'am, and a bitter disap- 
pointment. He had his dreams, same as all young 
folk. It used to be going beyond the sea to 
preach to the niggers when he was a little chap 
no higher than that " — holding out his awl about 
three feet from the floor — " and then when he 
come from his first curacy, fresh from Oxford, it 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR i8i 

was the heathen in great cities, and all that was 
doing there he was full of. He never was home 
much as a boy; that was the late lady's doing; she 
wanted to keep the trouble from him, and it come 
on him like a thunderclap. 'What shall I do, 
Lemuel, what shall I do ? ' he cried to me the day 
him and me found the Reverend who ought to 
have been taking a funeral, lying dead-drunk 
amongst the gravestones. Cried like a child, he 
did, poor lad. *If you ask me, Mr. Peter,* I 
says, 'what you ought to do is to bide here and 
try to save him. If you can't, nobody can't,' I 
says. 'There's a petition gone up to the Bishop 
now, but perhaps if you was to go to his Lord- 
ship he'd give un another chance.' So you see, he's 
on trial like for a bit." 

" I wonder," said Anstace, " if it was right to 
risk sacrificing the parish for one man." 

" The parish ain't sacrificed, ma'am. 'Tis Mr. 
Peter as runs it now, and there's not many par- 
ishes in the countryside better looked to. Be- 
sides, the old gentleman was never a bad man 
otherways ; a kinder heart don't breathe when he's 
himself, and as to preaching, well, you heard for 
yourself how he can preach." 

So this was the easy life which she fancied the 
.young curate had chosen in preference to the stren- 
uous work of cities. That little sermon of his in 
St. Rock's Chapel came back to her mind with 
her own strictures thereupon. " Easy talking for 
those who had not known sorrow." So it was not 



1 82 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

out of Ignorance but out of the fulness of a bitter 
experience he had been speaking brave words. 

Long shafts of sunlight breaking through and 
hanging the orchard boughs with prismatic col- 
ours told her that the storm was just over, and 
she rose. 

" One moment, ma'am ; now, if you are inter- 
ested in music I should like before you go to show 
you a little thing I made myself.'' 

He trotted off to his cottage, and quickly re- 
turned with some treasure carefully sheltered 
under his green baize apron from the drippings 
of the trees. 

" There now I What do you think of that? " 
he said proudly, producing a violin before An- 
stace's astonished eyes. Accurately curved, glow- 
ing with warm-tinted varnish, it looked the real 
thing. 

"You don't mean you made that yourself?" 
she cried. " Who showed you ? " 

"The great Stradivarius himself; no less." 
Then seeing the half-alarmed look in her eyes, 
" You think I am crazy, ma'am, but I mean it this 
way. I once had one of his lent me for a little; 
I could look at it, handle it, measure it. What 
man has done, man may do, I says to myself, 
specially a man that has gifts, so I took and fash- 
ioned one with just my cobbler's tools, and var- 
nished it — a many things went to that varnish 
before I could please myself, sugar and red seal- 
ing-wax to give it a colour — ^and there he is! 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 183 

'Tis nigh on thirty year since he was done, and 
I do think the tone improves the older he do 
grow.' 

*' Do let me hear it/* she said, handing it back 
after an examination in which her eye could de- 
tect no flaw. Nor could her ear detect any in the 
limpid melody by Mozart which the player gave 
with much zest and expression. The tone truly 
could not rival that of the great Cremona master, 
but was full, round, and mellow. Old Lemuel 
Honeybun had some right to regard himself as a 
genius. 

^^ We are wanting an accompaniment," he said. 
"Do you, perhaps, play the organ, ma'am?" 

" A little, enough I dare say to accompany simple 
things." 

"Then maybe you'd do me the favour to 
come up to the church and play for me one day. 
I've often wished one could invent a means of 
playing two instruments at once, but that is too 
much for me." " Even me," his tone implied. 

So Anstace found a new interest and started a 
new resource, and in music there is always conso- 
lation. 

She left him with her shoes laid aside upon the 
bench, fiddling away in a blissful dream. 



VI 

• 

After all, Anstace found that Peter's nostrum 
did avail her to a certain extent; for, if labour 
cannot cure a real and deep-seated sorrow, it can 
at least mitigate its devastating effects by occupy- 
ing the thoughts and by inducing a wholesome 
fatigue of either brain or body. She began her 
study simply with the wish to respond to the gen- 
uine kind interest her new friend showed in her, 
but without much faith in the experiment, and 
found at once she had to fortify her good inten- 
tion with a definite resolution of so much or so 
long a time each day, else she would have let go 
of it almost as soon as she began ; but after a while 
she found unexpected tendrils of interest begin- 
ning to twine themselves round the subject, en- 
trancing parallels discovering themselves between 
the ancient and the modem Greek, sweet and bit- 
ter memories of the cadence of the language as 
she used to hear it read. Earlier still, a certain 
pleasure in achievement, in the mere obstinate 
carrying out of the task she had set herself, soon 
a surprised delight in difficulties overcome. Then, 
as meanings opened out before her, how could she 
but find joy in the epic story which has delighted 
the world through the long course of centuries. 

When she made her way down to the Vicarage 

184 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 185 

to lay some puzzles she had not been able to deal 
with before old Mr. Whitethome, Peter, coming 
in and finding her and his father in eager discus- 
sion of derivations, was charmed with the success 
of his prescription ; if her cheek was still white and 
thin and the shadow still lay under her eyes, her 
glance was brighter and her voice had taken on 
quite another tone. 

He stood at the bookcase for a few minutes, 
choosing some more books for her, for she found 
she could enjoy general reading now, and when 
she rose to go he put one open into her hand, his 
finger marking a certain page. It was a slim 
volume of sonnets by Cracroft Lefroy; she took 
it and read: 

Had there been any choice, I do not say 
I should have chosen this dull rugged way, 
This way of stones and flints and wayside briars. 
What then ? I grieve not, faint not. God is kind. 
He gives me strauige sweet flowers that push between 
The flints,— such as no garden ever bore: 

She looked up. " * The strange sweet flowers 
that push between the flints ' : you think I am 
trampling them underfoot? " 

'' No, I think you are beginning to stoop and 
pick them." 

" Perhaps I am. You showed them me." 

" I am glad. I think we are all too apt to 
fancy we owe it to the dignity of our sorrow to 
ignore the dock that grows beside the nettle. I 
suppose it is a sort of misguided self-respect, and 



1 86 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

better at any rate than trying to smother it in dis- 
tractions. If I seemed to preach the doctrine to 
you, it was only that I wanted to hand on what 
I had had to learn." 

She only said, ^^ Thanks; may I take the 
book?" with that simplicity and reticence he so 
greatly admired in her. 

^^ Do ; you will find innumerable gems all cut 
and polished : Lef roy was a man who never spared 
his labour. If you feel ready for a novel, try 
Aylwin; that will lift you into a world of fancy; 
it is on altogether a different plane from the novels 
of society or the novels of New Thought one gets 
so deadly sick of." 

On another side Abigail ministered a small 
healing art of her own. The winter was persist- 
ently wet; Anstace braved it as often as she could 
in Tweed coat and motor cap, but now and then 
came a day that made her an unwilling prisoner. 
On one such she had worked all the morning at 
her Greek till unaccustomed brain and eyes were 
tired; dinner — for Anstace dined early and made 
a small supper take the place of late dinner — ^was 
all too quickly over and the table cleared. She 
had finished Aylwin and felt thoroughly disin- 
clined for Palmer's Dissertations on the Holy 
Eastern Church, which she had borrowed off the 
Vicarage shelves, for who can bend his mind to 
solid study between 2 and 3 p.m.? She stood 
listlessly by the window, watching the grey rain 
drift past, and realising that the winter was but 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 187 

half done, and this was the sort of thing to be ex- 
pected for some months yet. She recalled, almost 
with a touch of homesickness, Brenda's cheery, 
encumbered little kitchen with all its homely tasks 
of washing-up and tidying which at least put the 
afternoon well on its way before one was aware, 
and cheated one successfully out of an hour or 
more. 

"Why wasn't I born a working woman? " she 
sighed. " I believe that is my true metier J^ 

There was positively nothing to tidy; Abigail's 
zeal for neatness left her no scope. 

" There must surely be something to do down- 
stairs," she thought; "the house cannot actually 
go by clockwork. I'll go down and ask Mrs. 
Chinchen for a job." 

So presently she made a gentle tap on the 
kitchen door, and meeting no response, she pushed 
it open. Beside the hearth in a great beehive 
chair sat old Hiram with a red pocket-handker- 
chief thrown over his head, just a narrow opening 
between it and his silver beard being left for the 
emission of mild snores. The room was in per- 
fect order, but the back kitchen door was open, 
and through it came the clink of crockery and a 
splashing sound dominated by a sweet contralto 
voice with a plaintive note in it, singing, 

"Don't you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt? 
Sweet Alice with eyes hazel brown?" 

a soujg she remembered Jenny singing to her when 



1 88 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

she was almost a baby. Whenever she had con- 
sidered herself entitled to any special favour, it 
was always for " Sweet Alice '* she used to beg. 
She crossed the room softly, not to disturb the 
sleeper. Abigail looked up as she stepped back 
from ranging a pile of new-washed plates in shin- 
ing order upon the rack, and her song ceased. 

" Why, ma*am, I hope you haven't been ring- 
ing in vain? I never heard you come in, I was 
singing so loud. I generally sing a bit when I am 
out at the back because my goodman likes to know 
I'm there; like a baby, he sleeps the better for it. 
You'll excuse it please; I'm afraid I seemed very 
rude.'' 

** Excuse it I I love it. You must sing that 
song all through to me some time : my nurse used 
to sing it to me when I was little. No, I haven't 
been ringing; I only came down to beg for a job; 
I have nothing to do, and I'm so tired of the rain. 
Can't I help you wash up ? " 

" Oh, ma'am, I shouldn't like you to soil your 
pretty fingers among the dirty plates and dishes. 
I was afraid all along you'd presently find it lone- 
some. Perhaps we could get a lad at the cottages 
who'd run along to the Vicarage and get you some 
more books. I'll put on my clogs and see so 
soon as ever I've done these." 

"No, no, you dear, kind soul; as if I would 
let you go out in weather like this I Besides I've 
plenty, only I haven't the heart to read them: I 
want something to do, not read." 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 189 

" Think of that now 1 " Abigail looked at her 
with wistful grey eyes. " My idea of pleasure 
is just to sit quiet and read a nice book. *Tis like 
going a journey, as you might say, without ever 
leaving your own fireside." 

" Did you never make any journeys? " 

" Never, ma'am ; often and often IVe looked 
at the hills over there or across the sea and won- 
dered about what was the other side, the people, 
and the great cities, and the strange happenings, 
but it was not for me; all my life has been be- 
tween these hills, and now I think — ^mostly — I*m 
content to have it so." 

Anstace stood a minute watching her, as with 
deft mop and soft clean cloth she polished glasses 
and spoons, emptied her bowls and wiped the table 
she had been using so that the one little spot of 
temporary disorder was brought up to the level 
of the rest. Then she took off her coarse outer 
apron and washed her hands. " Now, I wonder 
what I can do for you ? " she said meditatively, 
bringing her tender eyes to bear on Anstace's 
weary and dispirited countenance. 

'' Only give me something to do; darning, any- 
thing." 

" Well now, I was just going to try and mend 
your own nightdresses," as she took a mass of 
lace and lawn off the airing horse and held it out. 
" I suppose you wouldn't like to see what you 
could do with them? Mfs. Clibbet is certainly 
rough with them, but as she washed for you from 



I90 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

the first I suppose you wouldn't wish to take it 
away from her, and I will say in her defence that 
there isn't much more substance in some of them 
than a cobweb." 

Anstace looked at them with compunction. 
^^ Dear, dear, they are in a ruinous plight ; I ought 
to have had new ones long ago, only I forgot. 
They had been condemned when I came away, 
only at the moment I had no others." 

She thought of the dozens of exquisite ones 
packed away in the great trunks with the name 
of Countess Leonides painted outside. It seemed 
a bathos: to have lost husband, home, religion — 
and nightgowns. She could have laughed at the 
mingled absurdity and bitterness, but laughter was 
too near to tears. 

" I'll write directly to town for some new ones," 
she said. ** Don't you bother mending these old 
rags." 

*' Do you know what I should do if I was you, 
Mrs. Claude? I should take and make the new 
ones myself. You pay a fortune for hand-made, 
and then the work they put into them isn't to 
compare with what one can do oneself. I'd cut 
them out and welcome if so be as you wouldn't 
mind me unpicking one for a pattern. I'd be will- 
ing to make them, too, only you was asking for a 
job, and I don't think myself there's anything so 
comforting as a long white seam. Many is the 
time I've tried it when the hand of sorrow was 
heavy upon me." 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 191 

'' I will," said Anstace, " as soon as I can get 
the stuff, and meanwhile suppose I try to mend 
the best of these and the worst we!ll cut up for 
a pattern. Only do let me sit down here with you 
and do it. I won't wake Mr. Chinchen, and FU 
go the minute we hear Mr. Angel coming in to 
tea. You know all along you said you wanted to 
let for the sake of company in the house, and yet 
you don't let me be the least company for you." 

"Well, you see, ma'am, it wasn't my idea to 
take anyone of the quality; I never supposed the 
quality would wish to come. I like to keep my 
own place." 

"Oh, nonsense about quality. Besides, why 
should you think I am * quality ' ? Miss Pinne- 
feather doesn't think I am worthy to associate 
with Lady Huddersfield." 

" Oh, we all know what sort of quality the Miss 
Pinnefeathers and their Lady Hudderfield are," 
said Abigail, with a fine scorn. " Do you think 
I don't know the difference between a real lady 
and a Mayor of Stonedge's relict? And not by 
such things as these only, though to be sure they 
do tell their own tale to them that have eyes." 

She made no further objection, however, to An- 
stace drawing a low seat to the hearth and settling 
herself there for an afternoon's sewing. For a 
little while the two women plied their needles in 
silence, the only soimd in the room the gentle 
snoring of the old man in the chimney comer and 
the ticking of the tall eight-day dock. Abigail 



192 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

was turning a sheet, literally sewing the long white 
seam which in her philosophy was as sovereign a 
cure for the heartache as Greek poetry was for 
the reverend Peter; Anstace was drawing her di- 
lapidated frills together with a fine thread and 
much intent effort. The task was soothing, and 
the sense of silent companionship sufficed her; 
she was not anxious to talk, only to be in the pres- 
ence of some friendly soul; the habit of silence 
had so grown upon her in these lonely weeks that 
she found herself far less ready with her tongue 
than of old. As she looked across at the cheer- 
ful face opposite, she wondered what had been the 
trouble that had rested with so heavy a hand upon 
that tranquil and contented spirit. Truly the con- 
dition of the old husband was sad, yet Abigail 
never seemed to regard it as a burden; the old 
man himself was happy and merry, like a child, 
and like a child his wife tended him and seemed to 
find pleasure in doing it. 

Presently Anstace raised her head and spoke. 
"Has he been long like that? " she asked, with a 
glance at the sleeper. " It must have been very 
sad for you when it first came on." 

" It was, ma*am, more than you could believe, 
for it began so strange-like. He didn't seem ill 
not that I could see, but from being always loving 
and good-humoured, as kind a husband as youM 
see, he got moody and queer-tempered; all I did 
was wrong, whether it was the cooking or what 
Vd got on, whether I talked or held my tongue; 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 193 

sometimes he'd sit sulking by the hour, never a 
word to throw at a dog, another time he'd fly out 
at every trifle. I didn't know what to do for the 
best, whether we hadn't better go from here where 
we'd lived ever since we were wed, and see what 
a change would do. But then he was getting too 
old to get work in a fresh place and I couldn't 
think what we should do, away from Mr. Angel 
and all. At last I got him to see a doctor, for I 
misdoubted illness had something to do with it 
I asked Mr. Angel to go and see the doctor for me 
afterwards to know what he really thought, for 
my poor goodman was that suspicious I didn't 
dare try and see the doctor alone myself. I can 
see his face now when he got back, so pitiful and 
tender, and hardly knowing how to tell me. He 
got it out at last; it was softening of the brain, 
he said, and we must take great care of him 
and never leave him by himself lest he might do 
himself a mischief. * And I'll help you,' he says, 
and so he always has, true as a brother. He 
seemed amazed almost that I took it so quiet. 
* Why you are bearing it like a heroine,' he said, 
but it wasn't that ; I wonder if you'll understand me, 
Mrs. Claude, but do you know I was thankful, yes 
thankful to know it was that, for sometimes it 
seemed as if he'd fairly come to hate me, and I 
was always tormenting myself to think whatever 
I could have done." 

The needlework dropped in Anstace's lap, and 
the eyes that for so long had been so dry and 



194 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

hard suddenly filled and brimmed over. There 
was more than understanding and sympathy in her 
bitter cry, "If I could think so; oh, if only I 
could think so I " 

" Dear heart ! '' said Abigail, laying a soothing 
. hand upon her knee. " I'm afraid in selfishly talk- 
ing about my trouble I have waked up yours. 
Don't grieve, my dear, don't grieve." 

Anstace's head went down upon the white-work 
in her lap, and all the flood of tears that bitter- 
ness had locked up for so long seemed to flow 
over her. Abigail soothed as well as she knew 
how by silent touches on the bowed head or occa- 
sional murmured words as to a child in grief. 
Presently the sobs ceased and she looked up. 

" Think of it," she said, " I was married — if 
it was not all a dream — ^we had come back to the 
house and received our friends, our health was 
drunk and I went to change my dress for our wed- 
ding journey; I came down; they said he would 
come directly; I waited, and I have never seen him, 
never heard from him from that hour. When 
you spoke it came upon me suddenly, perhaps it 
was — that." 

"It must be so, ma'am; surely it could be no 
other : the Lord must have sent madness upon him. 
But he will recover, he will remember, and you 
will have him again. So that is what sent you 
to us." 

" I could not stay at home, or I, too, should 
have gone mad ; it was horrible to me that people 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 195 

should look at me wondering what strange thing 
was in me that my husband should fly from me 
on the very threshold of our marriage. I had no 
place in the world; I did not know who I was; I 
had left off being Anstace Westwood, and I could 
not call myself Countess Leonides if he had re- 
pudiated me. So I took my second name and came 
away to find the old nurse that had brought me 
up, that I might live with her for a while where 
no one knew, and when I got here she was dead.'* 

'' And you shall find shelter here, my dear, and 
all the comfort I can give you. And now let me 
bring you to your bed and carry you up a cup 
of tea, for you have cried yourself fair sick. Per- 
haps after you will get to sleep." 

So absorbed had both women been that neither 
heard Christopher Angel come to the door and 
go softly away again, upstairs to his own room. 

Both the tears and the confidence did in some 
measure relieve Anstace. Abigail never referred 
to it, but there was a new bond between them, and 
Anstace often sought her company, sometimes 
with the pretext of help with her sewing, often for 
mere sociability's sake. 

One January evening a gale was raging round 
the house, trying the window bolts like a spirit 
seeking entrance, and wailing baffled in the chim- 
ney. Anstace generally rather liked to hear the 
wind from the shelter of the strong stone house, 
but to-night there was a fearsomeness in it that 
made her cower in her chinmey comer. She could 



196 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

not read; one might as well try to read in the din 
of battle as in the midst of this elemental war, 
and as to work, it seemed too trivial to be thought 
of. She was frightened, but the very horror of it 
drew her to the window, and she slipped behind 
the red curtain and looked out into the wild hurt- 
ling. Yet what was the use of looking out into 
Egyptian darkness? She heard the plashing rain, 
but no light was reflected from the pools among 
the flags below. Yet surely now there was a light, 
a light that seemed as if it fled wildly across the 
hills, leaving a kind of trail behind it. What 
could it be? A ship in distress? A coastguard's 
rocket? Too swift for the one, not swift enough 
for the other. She ran downstairs to ask Abigail 
to look out. After she had rapped she heard a 
voice, a slow, steady, continuous voice, as of one 
reading aloud; she knocked again; the reading 
ceased and a voice cried, ^* Come in I ** It was a 
peaceful picture on which she opened the door ; on 
one side of the fire sat Abigail with her big work- 
basket beside her, sewing diligently, on the other 
Mr. Angel with a book in his hand. The back 
kitchen door was shut and had a red curtain drawn 
across it; the door to the inner room stood ajar, 
that Abigail might have an eye to her aged child 
if he woke or needed her. 

" Forgive me for disturbing you," said Anstace, 
"but I think there must be a ship in distress; 
there were such strange wailing sounds on the 
wind that I looked out, and there was a light 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 197 

flashing across the cliffs. I don't know why, but 
I was horribly frightened; what can it be? " 

Mr. Angel and Abigail exchanged a looki and 
he laid down his book. 

" I don't think it is a ship," he said, " but I 
will look out to satisfy you." He went out, closing 
the outer door behind him with some difficulty 
as the wind rushed screaming up the passage; in 
a minute he came back. '^ There is nothing to be 
seen; I think you may make your mind easy; it 
must have been just an appearance that you saw, 
a flash of lightning perhaps." 

" I don't think it was lightning," said Anstace, 
'' for though it passed quickly, it was not so quick 
as that ; it was more like a person running with a 
light." She said no more, but she felt sure her 
host knew more about the light than he chose to 
say. 

" Don't go upstairs again if you feel nervous," 
he said, drawing forward a rocking chair with 
patchwork cushions. '* Sit here ; we do not hear 
the wind near so loud as you do in that south- 
west comer." 

*'Are you sure I shall not be disturbing you? 
I should like to stay. In such a storm one feels so 
small and lonesome. But please don't let me 
interrupt; you were readmg, weren't you? Do 
go on." 

" I expect you know this book well enough ; it 
is Adam Bede. Mrs. Chinchen enjoys a story 
while she plies her needle." 



198 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

'* So should I, and my familiarity with it is of 
80 long ago that it will come quite fresh to me, 
but I remember enough of the story not to mind 
where I pick it up." 

Mr. Angel resumed his reading willingly 
enough ; he was too kind a man to banish a lonely, 
frightened woman, and far too shy to have been 
able to sustain a conversation with one so f ar^ out- 
side his ken. His reading was admirable, the slight 
touch of Wessex in the tone only making the 
homely language of the country folk more natural, 
and he read with just so much dramatic inflection 
as to show he was realising the characters to him- 
self. When Anstace bade good-night and went 
upstairs, he came into the hall, lighted her candle 
for her, and carried it up the dark stairway. 

After that it became a regular custom for her 
to spend her evenings in the kitchen. When Abi- 
gail had cleared away the supper and called up 
the stairs to her, she would come down with her 
white sewing over her arm, take her place in the 
cushioned rocking chair, and listen to the reading. 
Till at last Christopher Angel grew so wonted to 
her presence that his shyness wore off, and he 
would unfold curious lore of the old customs of 
*^ the ancient Company of Marblers " whereof he 
was Warden. 

The origin of their peculiar rights, he told her, 
was lost in antiquity; tradition hinted that they 
were granted by King Alfred in reward for val- 
iant service against the Danes, while another 



THE VALLEY OF ACHOR 199 

story attributed the charter to '^Good Queen 
Bess" for aid against the Armada. Certain it 
was, however, that their earliest existing charter 
bore date anterior to her reign, and previous ones 
were believed to have been destroyed by fire. The 
one that still existed in its " ancient, precious box " 
in the Town Hall at Curfew Castle, the little old- 
world borough that nestled under the shadow of 
the old stronghold, set forth the right of the men 
of the island and no others to work the stone and 
marble of the district. Let who would hold the 
surface of the ground, none but a native, bom in 
lawful wedlock, could own or work a quarry or 
be bound 'prentice there. 

On Shrove Tuesday the meeting of the ** Free- 
boys " was held to elect wardens for the year, to 
register the marriages of members, and bind ap- 
prentices, each apprentice paying a penny loaf, a 
jug of beer, and six and eightpence, being the half- 
mark of the olden time; each new-married man 
the sum of twelve pence, save the last, who had to 
furnish the football which used to be kicked across 
the heath to the old port on the inland sea, whence 
the stone used to be shipped, but of late was sol- 
emnly carried to preserve the right of way. 

Once or twice Anstace went down the quarry 
with her host, descending cautiously the steep, 
narrow, slippery steps at the side of the smooth 
shaft up which the stone was warped, one hand 
resting on his shoulder, the other holding a candle- 
end to light the long tunnels and low galleries 



200 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

where the stone lay bedded in layers between the 
soft clay, which rendered blasting needless. She 
liked to see the men at work; to follow the muf- 
fled, thudding sound and come on the dim light 
at the end of some long tunnel, and see a worker, 
sometimes crouching in a niche, sometimes almost 
lying on his back, with patient caution picking, 
picking at the soft dividing clay. Great care was 
needed, Mr. Angel told her, lest the stone being 
loosened too suddenly should fall before the la- 
bourer could get from under it : accidents did hap- 
pen sometimes, but very rarely; the men were so 
thoroughly used to the conditions and understood 
them too well. But it was well no stranger inter- 
meddled. It was very quiet down there and there 
was no bustle, for the workers were few ; for the 
stacks above were great, and shaping and hewing 
were done in the sheds as the stone was needed. 

He taught her, too, the quaint old names given 
to the successive layers: the pink-bed, the thorn- 
back, the sugar-bed, ending with the white horse 
and the dun cow. 

No wonder the Stonedge men were a race apart, 
marrying only in their own community, keeping 
their own trade and trade-customs, and regarding 
every stranger as an intruder. Anstace felt, when 
the Warden had taken her under his wing, as if 
the Freedom of the Corporation had been be- 
stowed upon her^ 



BOOK IV 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 



" Spring came slowly up that way " in the bleak 
country where Anstace had chosen to make her 
abode, yet the hills were beginning to show a cer- 
tain austere beauty that touched her senses with 
a keener appeal than the lavishness of more fa- 
voured lands. A pearly hue softened the shoul- 
der of the down where it lifted itself against a 
sky either tenderly blue or dappled with fleecy 
clouds, so different to the dark heavy mass when 
the drenched heather and gorse were black against 
a lowering sky. And that very gorse that had 
looked so gloomy the wmter through, though al- 
ways keeping a blossom or two nestling in its 
heart, what a bravery of gold it put on in the April 
sunshine ! There was lavishness of colour enough 
there, while the sea below the grey rock was blue 
and green like a dove's nedc. 

Anstace, as she roamed over the lonely hills, 
began to admit the truth of Peter's favourite son- 
net, and to look out for the small sweet flowers 
pushing up between the flints ; not only letting her- 
self grudgingly take joy in them, in the stirrings 
of the sap without and within, but seeking them 
everywhere. Through the long winter evenings 

901 



204 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

despair swept over her, even over her soul, yet 
here in a measure she had found solace; she had 
as it were gathered up the broken fragments of 
her life and pieced them into something that was 
at least usable, though its beauty might have 
passed forever away. 

It was not to be denied there was a certain 
blankness in the life; a little helpfulness here and 
there, a little neighbourly kindness to Mrs. Bar- 
tlemy, a trifle of sympathy and help among the cot- 
tages at Crick and especially to the children, but 
very little outgoing from self to satisfy a capable 
woman's need. And she had looked to the giving 
of her whole self to the man who had seemed to 
crave the gift, and having won it, he had tossed it 
aside and gone his way. Yet if anywhere con- 
tent was to be found, it was surely here beside 
Abigail, under this homelike roof which sheltered 
three such contented though stricken souls. Yes, 
she would stay. 

So musing, she had gained the crest of a hill 
that was beyond the length of her usual rambles 
afoot, and so far from the highroad that her 
bicycle had never brought her thither. She had 
climbed up and up, so busily thinking that she 
hardly realised the distance she had come, nor 
looked round at her bearings till, suddenly raising 
her eyes from the cowslip-dotted grass, she found 
herself standing on the very brow of a towering 
hill. To the right of her the range of down swept 
back, showing the whole extent of the oval penin- 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 205 

sula, washed by the open sea on two sides and al- 
most surrounded by a broad tidal estuary on the 
third. The higher slopes were burrowed with 
quarries, the lower dotted with small farms and 
low coppices nestling in the hollows, while between 
the hills and the harbour stretched a broad expanse 
of marsh and moorland. To the north, in the gate 
of the hills, a ruined castle reared its broken 
towers as though it would fain still hold the land 
against the stranger. At its foot clustered the 
dwindled handful of dwellings that called itself a 
township, and little grey Stonedge was almost 
hidden behind the cliff. Far away, the other side 
the broad estuary, smoke lay above the chimneys 
of a great town, but here in the island it was all 
open country. Seaward the lofty rampart was 
broken here and there by deep combes in which 
a close growth of woodland sought shelter from 
the sea winds, thick underneath and with tops 
shorn and shaven. 

Inunediately below her, almost beneath her feet 
as it seemed, lay one of the deepest and most 
densely wooded of these hollows. A faint track zig- 
zagged down the slope, which was bowl-shaped, 
and at the bottom through an occasional gap in the 
beechwoods showed the gleam of water, where a 
stream made its way to the sea. For a moment 
Anstace fancied the beech-trees were standing 
deep in water, water of a marvellous blue such as 
never pond nor river could show in shadow, till she 
realised that what she was looking down upon was 



2o6 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

a sheet of bluebells. They drew her like a magnet; 
she almost ran down the steep path to reach them, 
only to find herself confronted at the bottom by 
a high and strong fence. Not to be baffled she 
followed it downwards and ever downwards to- 
wards the sea, accompanied by the tinkle of the 
brook, and looking diligently for some practicable 
gap. Presently appeared a little gate only latched, 
and through it went Anstace, caring nothing what 
boards of warning might bar her way, far too in- 
tent on filling her hands with flowers to trouble 
her head as to whether she were trespassing. 
Presently the flowers dwindled and ceased, the 
wood lightened, a winding path more carefully 
kept than the track between the trees offered itself 
to her footsteps, and she followed it. Soon the 
trees stood back on either hand and before her lay 
a chain of fish-ponds, smiling in the sunshine, in 
which the woods were mirrored in deep green, 
while in the shadow near the bank floated great 
water-lily leaves in paler green, like fairy boats. 
On the hither side the grassy margins were shaven, 
and here and there flowering shrubs spoke of the 
hand of man. Downward the wood closed in 
again, upward the opening widened in front of an 
old grey stone house with stone-slab roof and 
heavily muUioned windows. Before it lay a broad 
terrace with flights of stone steps, on the balus- 
trades of which peacocks sunned themselves, and 
a sloping garden was gay with spring's fair 
pageantry. 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 207 

A dark figure with stooping shoulders moved 
slowly along the terrace, and Anstace suddenly 
realised her iniquity in thus intruding into some- 
one's private garden. It is one thing to trespass 
in a wood among wild flowers, it is quite another 
to march unbidden into the midst of someone's 
else tulips and hyacinths. ^' Oh, I hope he does 
not see me I" was her inward exclamation; then 
she noticed with quick compunction that he never 
raised his head nor turned towards peacocks or 
flowers, but groped along the edge of the balus- 
trade with the cane he held. 

" Truly, I believe it must be the * Ogre's Cas- 
tle,' " she said to herself. " This must surely be 
the Golden Bowl." Softly she glided away till 
she was lost once more in the woods. 

Though she was tired she was determined to 
pursue her journey; soon she was convinced the 
brook must And its way to the sea, and while the 
brook went on she resolved she would too; more- 
over she hoped she might find another way up 
without affronting the house with her unauthor- 
ised presence. Perseverance was rewarded at last, 
the interminable wood ceased, and a steep but well- 
kept path brought her out upon a rounded, deep 
and narrow inlet, rather a basin than a bay, in the 
shelter of which, under an overhanging cliff, a 
small cutter at anchor was gently rocking. A lit- 
tle jetty ran out with a curving arm within which a 
dingey was tied, knocking against the steps with a 
rhythmic, gurgling sound, the only noise in that 



2o8 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

still, lonesome place. There was a name painted 
on the prow of the cutter. Anstace deciphered it 
with some dif&culty as it dipped and rose : she was 
not surprised to read The Silence; it could hardly 
have been called anything else. 

" How I should like," she thought, " to unmoor 
that tiny boat, and row out to the little yacht and 
board her, to weigh anchor, to hoist a sail, and go 
sailing ofi westward into the Land of the Setting 
Sun." 

She had a mind at least to get down and out to 
the end of the little jetty, easily accomplished, for 
a flight of wooden steps led down to the narrow, 
stony beach, well defended by a stout balustrade, 
as was also the top of the cliff where the path 
ended. Every precaution had been taken to pre- 
vent the unwary tumbling into the sea, for there 
was a hand-rail even to the jetty and down the step 
or two where the boat was tied. On the second 
step her quick eye caught sight of a book lying 
dropped just within reach of the next rising tide. 
She picked it up and looked at the title; Greek 
characters met her eye with a thrill of joyful 
recognition; it was the Antigone of Sophocles. 
What a treasure-trove 1 No flotsam and jetsam 
from a fishing boat this. She was sorely tempted 
to pocket it; dearly if she left it long the sea would 
have it. She turned the leaves; inside the cover 
was an Ex Libris, the strangest she had ever seen ; 
a great tree grappled its roots deep in a mound 
of books and parchment rolls, bones and dead 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 209 

men^s skulls, while above hands snatched at Its 
blossom and its fruit. At the summit a laurel 
crown was held over the brows of one lately dead, 
more gruesome far than a death's-head, this skull 
from which the flesh had scarcely perished. An- 
stace gazed at it in fascination and horror; who 
could have chosen such an emblem for himself? 
There was no name ; crest and motto in the corner 
seemed to denote the proprietor definitely enough 
in his own estimation. 

At least there was an owner, and Anstace had 
been about to add petty larceny to her trespass. 
To leave it was to deliver it a prey to winds and 
waves; it had in all probability been dropped by 
someone landing from the little yacht; should she 
take the small boat, row out to the yacht, and 
place her find in safety on board? The prospect 
was not without allurement ; there was a spice of 
adventure in it, and she had a curiosity to inspect 
the craft so strangely named. Yet it had its perils, 
too ; she was an unpractised rower, at least on the 
sea, and doubted her capacity for the adventure. 
But she paltered with the idea ; she was to-day in 
the mood of recklessness that sometimes super- 
venes on a period of resigned dulness. *' After 
all I am alive," was the language of her thought; 
" part of me is, at any rate, and while one lives 
one must seek adventures. I have managed a boat 
on the river, and this is a quiet enough sea ; I believe 
I could do it." 

Even while the thoughts passed through her 



2IO THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

mind, she was stepping in, tucking her skirts well 
round her, and as she balanced the pros and cons, 
she was akeady loosing the painter and shipping 
her oars. It was quite easy ; the boat was light, the 
oars of a manageable length, and a few strokes 
brought her alongside the larger craft. Now her 
difficulties began, for how to board her was more 
of a problem than she had anticipated; she rowed 
all round the yacht more than once before she 
could decide on the proper spot to make the at- 
tempt, and when she had brought up alongside a 
gentle heave invariably caused a yawning chasm to 
appear between just as she was going to step 
up. At last she seized her opportunity and sprang, 
all but dropping Sophocles into a watery grave as 
she did so, in her anxiety not to let go of the 
painter. However, here she was, and she tied 
the rope on to something before she began her 
tour of inspection. 

All on board carried out the name; silence 
reigned supreme. There was neither captain, 
crew, nor passenger save herself. The deck was 
white and clean, the brasses bright, all taut and 
trim; a very short companion ladder of a few 
steps led down to two little cavernous cabins; she 
entered the kitchen first, all spick and span, with a 
tiny stove and shining array of diminutive pots and 
pans, but the stove was cold and the pots empty 
and dean. The other was the living and sleeping- 
room, and was a quaint little den of miniature 
luxury. A cushioned bunk each side of the fixed 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 211 

table served for seat or bed; on one side a port- 
hole gave upon the open sea, on the other a small 
bookcase justified her visit. Yes, there was the 
second volume of Sophocles leaning across the 
space that should have been filled by the one 
in her hand. There, too, was Marcus Aurelius, 
another old friend, and stranger still, a rare book 
she had once seen, the Travels of Macarius. She 
took down one and another, and the minutes 
slipped by. Suddenly she roused herself, replaced 
the volumes, and crossed to look out of the port- 
hole. 

Ah, there was a boat at no very great distance. 
Seized with the fear of being caught by the owner, 
she lay low a minute to make sure whether it was 
coming her way. No, it was moving from, not 
towards her, and surely — ^why, surely it was empty 
and travelling at its own sweet will. She bounded 
up the steps. Alack I the painter had been tied in 
a *^ grandmother's knot,'' and luiless she was pre- 
pared to swim for it, the boat was gone beyond 
recall. 

The first thing Anstace did was to laugh; the 
situation was awkward, but it was also whimsical 
that so prompt a retribution should have fallen 
on her curiosity, and she could have fancied the 
mocking laughter of the gulls sailing high above 
her was the glee of mischievous spirits at her 
discomfiture. Clearly she was a prisoner, and for 
how long it would be hard to tell, for no dwelling 
was in sight nor road save the footpath by which 



212 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

she had come. As to swimming, the possibility of 
which for an instant crossed her mind, the dis- 
tance looking but short, she soon realised it would 
be far beyond her powers, which were not great, 
even if she decided to leave her skirt behind and 
make her way home in dark blue cycling knickers. 
It would only be exchanging present safety with 
the chance of lengthy imprisonment, for immi- 
nent risk of drowning. No doubt she would be 
sought when dusk fell, but she often took long 
tramps, and till then Abigail would not become 
uneasy. The worst of it was no one knew which 
way she had gone; when she left the house she 
had merely put her head in at the kitchen door 
and said, '' I am going for a prowl," and this was 
not one of her accustomed haunts. They would 
be sure to think she had fallen over the cliff and 
search exhaustively nearer home before they came 
so far afield, and she did not recollect meeting 
anyone who could have told which way she went. 
On these lonely hills one might travel for a whole 
afternoon without encountering a soul; even where 
the quarrymen worked, one often met no one 
above ground. She was vexed at the fright and 
trouble she was giving, but there was nothing to 
be done. She looked all round to see if it would 
be any use to shout, but not a human dwelling- 
place, not so much as a sheepfold, was in sight. 

Having taken her bearings, she realised that it 
was long past tea-time, so she proceeded to inves- 
tigate the capacities of the little stove. To her 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 213 

joy It was filled with oil and the wicks trimmed, 
and she could soon have a boiling kettle. Hot 
water, however, is not the only thing needful, and 
she had a long hunt before she succeeded in dis- 
covering the tin that contained the tea. There 
were rolls in the bread pan, too, which was more 
than she dared to hope, some pots of blackberry 
jam and marmalade in the locker, but no butter. 

Not in vain had Anstace learned her lesson of 
extracting sweet from bitter; she enjoyed like a 
child the necessity of foraging — not to call it 
thieving — for supplies, and ate her picnic meal on 
deck with keen appetite. She was in no danger, 
and it was obvious from the freshness of the 
bread and the exquisite order of everything on 
board that the little vessel was not long left to 
herself; rescue must surely come in the morning 
at latest. Meantime she pleased herself with 
fancies of sea-fairies or a yacht under enchantment, 
worked by invisible hands: she only hoped they 
would not weigh anchor and sail off with her in 
the middle of the night. It struck her that while 
he was about it, the lubber-fiend, or his sea coun- 
terpart, might have fetched her a little milk from 
the mainland. Tea ended, she fetched a book, 
some cushions, and a rug from the cabin, and made 
herself a cosey nest on deck; she would not go 
below, though it began to blow up cold, lest she 
should miss any chance of making herself seen and 
heard. 

The night was fair, though with the chill of 



214 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

early spring; the glow of sunset faded, and one 
or two stars and a thin crescent moon came out 
In a pale, clear sky; the surrounding rocks grew 
dark and gloomy, the water turned purple, and 
from purple to black in the shadow of the cliff, 
and the feeling grew upon Anstace of being shut 
into a deep pit. She shivered; it did not seem 
so amusing now. This which had befallen her 
was an epitome of her life; out of the ordinary, 
cheery, everyday sunshine, she had been suddenly 
shut a prisoner into the Silence, from which there 
was no escape, and round about mystery closed 
her in. Slowly her spirit sank from regarding 
her plight as an almost pleasant adventure, to a 
sense of loneliness and dismay that was not far 
from terror. The moon had disapppeared behind 
the shoulder of the hill, and instead of three or 
four far-shining planets, the sky, now dark, was 
spangled with the myriad stars which have always 
something of the mystery and terror of the 
illimitable. 

She could no longer see to read, and there was 
no means of getting a light: there were electric 
buttons in the cabins, but they were not charged. 
She would fain have sought the warmth and shel- 
ter of the little stateroom, but feared to miss a 
chance of rescue. 

Slowly the long hours of the night wore on, 
and in spite of cold and fear Anstace grew drowsy 
and her head sunk down upon the cushions. Sud- 
denly she was awake, alert; did someone call? 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 215 

She sprang up ; on the brink of the cliff above her 
a light flashed. She shouted with all her strength 
and waved her handkerchief. Oh, for a light to 
flash in response I But the distance was so small, 
surely she must be heard. But the light never 
stayed; it seemed to be a torch carried by 
someone who ran at topmost speed. A mad way 
to conduct a search I Another moment and it had 
vanished, but before she lost it Anstace thought 
she made out in the glare a woman's form with 
long hair floating back, as the flame and smoke of 
the torch streamed behind her as she ran. 

A shuddering horror came on Anstace. Come 
what might, she could stay out in the lonely dark 
no longer ; she sought the shelter of the cabin, and 
muffling herself in a rug, cowered on the little 
sofa. " Pray God the anchor does not part in 
the night," she thought, and fell asleep. 



II 

Strange was the waking when the earliest sun- 
beams, reflected in the dancing water, came 
through the little porthole, and, flickering on the 
white and gold ceiling above Anstace's head, woke 
her. She had slept soundly, despite the fright and 
perplexity of the night, lulled by the infinite sooth- 
ing of the rocking waves beneath her bed, rest- 
fullest of all springs ever invented. How many 
weary tossing nights at home had she longed for 
such cradling. For a moment she lay passive, 
unable to grasp self or surroundings, then as she 
fully woke she must needs don the garment of her 
personality and all its woes again. This morning 
the insistent difficulties of her dilemma pushed 
aside for a little the ever-enfolding trouble, and 
she rose, not without cheer, to find to her amuse- 
men that the fairy vessel provided the wherewithal 
for a toilette. On opening a cabinet near the 
bed's head not only a basin and clean towels, but 
brush and comb revealed themselves, not to men- 
tion shaving apparatus, had she had need of such. 

Is ever fresh, clean morning fresher or more 
radiant than on board ship ? All seemed to glitter 
in the cool, crisp sunshine as she stepped on deck, 
and to greet her hopefully. Should she have to 
breakfast on board, she wondered. Probably, but 
she would reconnoitre first. All seemed as still 

216 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 217 

and lonesome as in the evening, but as the sunshine 
smote the face of the cliff she made out something 
that looked like a little building of some sort, at 
least a roof-like projection against the cliff, under 
which she almost fancied a crucifix such as one 
may see in a wayside shrine abroad. Surely there 
was a movement in the shadow in front of it, some 
dark mass stirred; yes, a black figure was rising 
from his knees, and turning away to go up the cliff. 
Anstace called out, and for an instant feared she 
was unheard. Was this but another vision, as 
unreal as last night's? One more loud cry she 
gave, then the figure, which was that of an elderly 
man in a cassock, stopped, turned round, shaded 
his eyes with his hand, and Anstace, calling again, 
drew out her handkerchief and waved it frantic- 
ally. Now she was certain he saw her, for he 
began to run down the path towards the beach. 
For a moment she lost sight of him, then he reap- 
peared coming down the steps to the jetty, from 
whence he shouted to her, "Where's the boat? " 

" I don't know," screamed she ; " drifted away, 
I'm afraid." 

" Dear, dear, how awkward I I must go and 
get another." 

Anstace was afraid this would necessitate his 
entire disappearance, but to her relief she saw him 
make his way to a little boathouse built into the 
cliff, drag out and launch with the extreme of un- 
handiness and slowness a much heavier boat than 
the one she had taken possession of and cast adrift 



2i8 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

so unceremoniously, and after what seemed to her 
impatience an endless time, he arrived alongside. 
It was as she had surmised, the old priest who offi- 
ciated at St. Rock's chapel. He blinked up at her 
with short-sighted eyes as he held on to the side 
and helped her to descend. 

" A lady I " he said, with surprise. " May I 
ask, madam, how you came here, and whether you 
have been here long? And are there no more? " 

*' No,'' said Anstace, feeling deeply ashamed 
of herself now she had to explain her predicament ; 
** I am quite alone. I was walking here last even- 
ing — ^trespassing, I am afraid. I picked up a book 
on the jetty, and thinking it must belong to the 
yacht, I got into the little boat and rowed out to 
restore it, and — and when I meant to come back 
the little boat had drifted away, and here I was a 
prisoner." 

^* What a lame story it sounds," she thought to 
herself, and added, ^* I thought I had made the 
rope quite fast ; I am so ashamed." 

" Ah," said the Father, in an easy tone, bend- 
ing to his oar, ^' that is just what is continually hap- 
pening to me; I don't know how it is, it seems as 
if some mischievous sea-urchin untied one's tight- 
est knots. I know just where she will be — ah, 
yes, I thought so. Do you see there on her side, 
just the hither side of the pinnacle rock? She 
nearly always gets caught in the cross-current and 
drifts over there into that little cove. Occasion- 
ally she has the mishap to arrive on the reef and 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 219 

get wrecked, and once she was swamped, but more 
often she gets upon the sand* One could really 
fancy she had learned to guide herself, she so 
often turns up safely." 

Thus reassured, Anstace began to feel a little 
less guilty, and hoped the damage she had done 
had not been great. Arrived at the jetty, she and 
the Father, by their united exertions, made the 
other boat secure, and she began to take leave with 
reiterated thanks and apologies. 

" Not so," said the priest; "you must come up 
to the house with me and explain matters to the 
Squire; he won't believe me; he'll think I've been 
dreaming. Besides, I'll wager you've had no 
breakfast." 

" Oh, it doesn't matter about breakfast, thank 
you ; I must be getting back ; they will be so fright- 
ened about me where I lodge. But of course, if 
you wish it, I will go with you and make my apol- 
ogies to the owner, as indeed I ought." 

" I have seen you before, haven't I ? " said he, 
as they proceeded up a path different from the 
one down which Anstace had travelled, as it 
seemed to her, about a century ago; a path that 
led past the little shrine covering a crucifix where 
she had first caught sight of her guide. She found 
it formed the close of the Stations of the Cross, 
carved in relief, rudely, but with some artistic 
feeling, fixed against the rock. " You come to 
Mass in the little chantry, don't you ? " 

'' Sometimes, whenever I can get so far; I used 



220 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

to go regularly when I was staying at the Coast- 
guard Station, but I am further off now. I hope 
you do not resent the Intrusion of one whom you 
must regard as a schismatic? " 

** Oh, I understand ; there are many in like case. 
Come and welcome; listen and learn." 

'* In like case with me, not so many as he 
thinks," thought Anstace within herself, but she 
forbore to explain further. 

On the terrace, where she had seen him yester- 
day, the same man was sunning himself, and be- 
side him strutted the peacocks displaying their 
gorgeous tails before his unseeing eyes. He raised 
his head at the sound of approaching footsteps. 

"Good-morning to you. Father; you have a 
lady with you? " He raised his hat, a soft slouch- 
ing felt, and Anstace bowed. 

" Yes, a lady from the sea. I found her on 
board the Silence, all by herself, having spent the 
night there, and as The Bat had flitted away, I 
hauled out The Raven and rescued her single- 
handed, and here she is. I am sorry I cannot pre- 
sent her properly, not having the pleasure of know- 
ing her name." 

" You must explain this romance. Madam, if 
you please. Father lanstone lives in a dream- 
world and does not know fact from fancy." 

" It is no romance," said Anstace, " but the 
sober truth, of which I am deeply ashamed. To 
begin with, I am Mrs. Claude: I am living at 
Mount Misery, in the house of Christopher Angel. 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 221 

Yesterday I rambled out here, and tempted by the 
blue-bells, I came trespassing In your woods. I 
wanted to see where the brook went to, so I walked 
on and on till I came to the cove. There on the 
jetty I picked up a book; I concluded it must have 
belonged to the yacht lying at anchor there, and 
seeing a little boat handy, I went to put it in 
safety." 

'' Oh," said the Squire, uttering a queer sound, 
a sort of indignant snort that tried to end in a 
laugh, *' so you thought to steal my boat to restore 
my book, eh ? " 

** I had no business, I know," faltered Anstace; 
" I am afraid It was largely curiosity." 

" Not a doubt of it. Well?" 

" I could not have tied the rope properly " 

" Did ever a woman tie a knot properly? — in 
a rope; in a riband I daresay you could manage 
it, or a knot of hair. So the boat is gone ? " 

" It was gone out of my reach, but It seems to 
have drifted ashore and to be lying on the beach 
in safety; I hope so. I do trust I have not done 
any serious damage." 

'' She has come ashore as usual under the pin- 
nacle," put in Father lanstone. " Did you ever 
know such a clever little craft? She can always 
look after herself." 

" You'll trust to that once too often. Father. 
Well, you had better send Timpson after her. So 
then," turning to Anstace, " you started screaming, 
I suppose. Small use to scream here ; in this haunt 



222 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

of the sea-birds we take no notice of a shriek more 
or less." 

Anstace was rather nettled at his tone, which 
was decidedly rude. 

" On the contrary, it seemed to me waste of 
breath, since there was no one in sight, nor pre- 
sumably in hearing; so when I found my case was 
hopeless, I began to think of my lost tea, and I 
am afraid made rather free with your stores." 

" Oh, that's all right ; I don't grudge you the 
bread and jam. I hope you made yourself at 
home." 

" Quite, thank you ; I enjoyed myself very much. 
And now, with my best thanks for your involun- 
tary hospitality, I must be hastening home to re^ 
lieve the anxiety of my landlady." 

*^ You must come in and have some breakfast 
first; they'll drive you back, and you will be none 
the later. Have the goodness. Father, to give the 
order for the dogcart to be round in half an hour, 
and send someone down after the little Bat. Now 
we will go in." 

He led the way to the glass door which gave 
upon the terrace. Anstace longed to offer a guid- 
ing hand, but did not dare for fear of giving 
offence, and with the slight groping of his cane in 
front of him, he seemed able to steer himself well 
enough. 

He was a strange-looking man; his head, griz- 
zled though not bald, was oddly shaped and deeply 
sunk between his broad rounded shoulders; this 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 223 

and his abnormally long arms gave him somewhat 
the look of a dwarf, but he was quite tall and 
muscular-looking, would have been very tall but 
for his stoop. His face was of a singular dark 
pallor; he had cavernous eyes, and high cheek- 
bones on which black whiskers, less grizzled than 
his hair, grew almost under his eyes. His dress 
was loose, careless, but that of a gentleman. 

Anstace following him, found herself wonder- 
fully at ease in the ogre's den. Had he been more 
polite she would have been more weighed down 
with the sense of her iniquity. Even his kind invi- 
tation to breakfast was couched in the curt tone of 
a command, but after her light repast of the night 
before and her early rising, she was not particular 
as to the terms in which hospitality was offered. 
Pity, too, strove with a slight feeling of irrita- 
tion; if he were abrupt, he had good cause for 
impatience; it was evident to her that his loss of 
sight had but newly come on him, since he showed 
angry surprise at his failure to serve himself and 
a quick resentment at the proffer of service from 
others. He had not yet had time to learn the 
patience and trustfulness to helping hands which 
so pathetically characterise the blind. 

He conducted her to a small breakfast parlour, 
where a round table was laid in the window, hotel 
fashion, both coffee and viands being on the side- 
board, where a servant stood ready to pour out. 

*^Lay another place,'' said the master, and 
signed to his visitor to take a seat on his ri^t. 



224 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" You must be a brave young lady," he re- 
marked, while this was being done, '' to pass the 
night in the bay all alone on the yacht, and come 
ashore as fresh and calm as If you were just off 
your own pillow." 

" I had one strange fright, though," said An- 
stace. '' At first the adventure amused me, and 
then poking about and getting myself tea kept me 
from feeling lonely. Besides, I am used to being a 
good deal alone." 

" Ah, what was the fright? " 

" Why, in the dead of the night there came a 
long wailing shriek, which roused me, and I saw 
a torch. Of course I thought it was people come 
to look for me, and I stood up and shouted, but 
the person who carried it, who looked like a 
woman, fled away with long hair streaming behind 
her — ^unless I mistook the smoke of the torch for 
hair. I was absolutely terrified and unnerved, and 
I rushed into the cabin and rolled myself up so that 
I could see no more. I believe I saw something 
like it once before from Mount Misery." 

Father lanstone, who had slipped quietly into 
his seat with a book in his hand, looked up and 
crossed himself. 

" I suppose they have been telling you the story 
why your house has such a name? " 

*' I have never heard any story about it; what 
is it?" 

" Why, the story goes that some hundred years 
ago or more a girl from that house, Christopher 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 225 

Angel's great-aunt she must have been, had fallen 
in love with a young fellow engaged in the con- 
traband trade. She had undertaken to fire a bea- 
con to give warning of the neighbourhood of the 
preventive men to the vessel from which the young 
man was trying to run a cargo. She seems to have 
been a frivolously minded wench, who cared more 
for her finery than for her lover, for she was so 
absorbed in making a new gown that she let the 
time go by, and when at last she rushed down 
with her torch she was too late; the boat was 
boarded by the preventive men, her lover was 
taken red-handed and hanged. The action took 
place in our little cove, and into the same cove she 
flung herself over the cliff. Her father was just 
completing his new house; it was to have been 
called Mount Pleasant ; he called it Mount Misery 
instead. You must have a keen eye for spectres: 
I never saw her, and I did not know anyone had 
lately." 

''It is not an enviable thing," said Anstace, and 
shuddered. 

" You have not told me yet," said Mr. Clyne, 
presently, " what the volume was that you picked 
up. 

" It was the Antigone of Sophocles," she 
answered. 

"The Antigone of Sophocles," he repeated, 
echoing her accent. " Why, where did you learn to 
speak Greek that fashion ? " 

For a moment she kept silence : the recollection 



226 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

was too poignant : she could hear again those tones 
with their strangely rhythmic cadence, reciting to 
her Klepht songs, or reading the old Greek after 
the manner of the East 

" I learned it of a Greek," she said, at last. " I 
belong to the Greek Church." 

Her host uttered a sound of surprise that was 
almost a whistle. 

" Do you, indeed ? Excuse me, but that is so 
unusual. You are an Englishwoman?" 

" By birth, yes," she said, very low. 

" Pardon me ; I did not intend to be inquisitive. 
I fear I have pained and distressed you In some 
way. I could tell it by the sound of your voice. 
As my eyes have darkened so that I can no longer 
read the faces of those I talk to, my ear tells me 
more and more." 

So there was humanity — delicacy even — in the 
ogre. 

" It was a painful memory," she said ; " but I 
don't wish to ignore it. You spoke as if you were 
interested; it would be sweet to me to hear that 
tongue again." 

" I'm afraid I can't gratify you. I learned 
Greek for my sins in the vile manner we English 
pronounce it, but both the true pronunciation and 
the history of the Eastern Church are hobbies of 
mine ; finding you could speak as well as read it, a 
wild notion for an instant crossed my mind — ^but 
it would probably offend you, if indeed I am not 
rousing painful' recollections." 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 227 

" Tell me," she said; " is there any way I could 
aid you by reading or writing for you ? I cannot 
tell you how I crave some regular occupation. I 
am not the least learned or clever, but I think I 
could read Greek intelligibly If, as you say, you do 
not mind my outlandish pronunciation." 

*' Mind it I I love it. But this is the most 
extraordinary coincidence; for years I have been 
looking for some young fellow of intelligence who 
could carry out an analytical catalogue of the great 
library here, which is particularly rich in Greek 
MSS. of the fourth and fifth centuries, and if 
added to this I could also have one who could read 
to me and write in the Greek character at my dic- 
tation, I should have found my ideal. Is it possi- 
ble that I have done so? Could you under- 
take it?" 

Anstace paused a moment for consideration, 
though she knew straightway how she should de- 
cide. Here once again was the inch of foothold, 
the standing ground she needed. Mr. Clyne spoke 
again. 

"Take time," he said; "don't answer in a 
hurry, lest you should say no. The work would 
not be hard, and to a certain extent it would be 
varied." 

" I could read and write for you, but about the 
cataloguing, I am afraid I am too ignorant You 
will want references? " doubtfully. 

" References I My dear madam, your voice is 
reference enough for me." 



228 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Anstace smiled. *'At any rate my landlady, 
Mrs. Chinchen, and the curate at Combarrow, 
though they have not known me very long, will 
speak a good word for me.'' 

" So they will for me ; for I suppose you will 
wish to ascertain that I am a respectable man and 
a good master. Don't ask Father lanstone for a 
character; I am sure he will tell you I am an exact- 
ing beast." 

" Nay, nay," said the Father, absently pouring 
some hot water into his cup under the impression 
it was milk. ^^ I am only ashamed I cannot help 
worrying you with my blunders and forgetfulness." 

Mr. Clyne gave a rumbling laugh, like one who 
laughs grudgingly. 

^^ The good Father is a bit absent and muddle- 
headed," he said, ^' and that won't do for a libra- 
rian, else we need not have sought outside help. 
I am not so very dependent either, as you might 
think; I can still see the difference between the 
light of the window and the darkness of the door- 
way, and I know where the fire is; I think you 
would soon become used to the little help I need, 
and if I am irritable and gloomy, you will make 
excuse for a man from whom the light is being 
gradually withdrawn." 

That settled it. "When do you want me to 
come ? " she asked. 

" Mercy 1 How unbusinesslike women are, to 
be sure I You have never asked about terms. 
Would a hundred a year meet your views? " 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 229 

" It would be ample ; I only hope my work will 
be worth it. And how many hours' attendance do 
you wish ? " 

" Can you be here by ten? It is a long way 
from Mount Misery." 

" Easily, if there is a road t can cycle ; it would 
take too long to walk over the hiUs the way I 
came." 

^' By road it is about five miles. I propose that 
you should work all the morning, take your lunch 
here, and give me another hour or so in the after- 
noon if I need it. Can you type? " 

" No, but I can soon learn." 

" The dogcart is at the door, sir." 

Anstace had finished breakfast, and rose at 
once. " I must not delay," she said; *^ I am afraid 
they will be dreadfully frightened about me at 
Mount Misery." 

The Father also rose to escort her to the door, 
laying a piece of toast in his book for a marker; 
he had been trying for some time to butter it with 
the paper-knife. But the host himself came with 
her to the door. 

*' Do not fade away," he said, *^ as suddenly as 
you came, but remember I shall look for you to- 
morrow. A blind man has few pleasures to look 
forward to." 



Ill 

Real work was a thing which Anstace had never 
attempted in her life, so it was with some trepida- 
tion she took her way to Binamy in the early morn- 
ing. Yet with some anticipation of interest, too, 
and not without an amused curiosity what sort of 
an employer she would find in Eldred Clyne. 
Should she, with her unpractised labours, be able 
to satisfy a man who looked as though he were 
never satisfied? 

She had at first no opportunity of judging, for 
the master of the house did not appear. She was 
conducted at once into the great library, up the 
gallery stair at the gable end, and through the 
little turret doorway to a room in the thickness of 
the wall, anciently a priest's hiding-hole, to take 
off her hat. Returning, she stood for a few min- 
utes in the great grove of books, abashed before 
the magnitude of her task. Could it really be ex- 
pected of her to marshal and array all those 
stupendous forces? Rank after rank they rose 
above her head ; the portable steps seemed a mere 
toy, and with the gallery running along the one 
side, the room looked more like a public library 
than a mere private collection. She wished her 
master would come and tell her what she was to do. 

In a few minutes she was joined by Father 
lanstone. 

230 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 231 

" You are punctual," he said, " the first of the 
minor morals, and the only one they ever succeeded 
in driving into me. I am very untidy, I fear, and 
absent-minded, yes, certainly absent-minded, but 
late, never. And that reminds me, it is just the 
time I should be in the chapel." 

He was moving off, and Anstace, fearing he 
would be absent in body as well as in mind before 
she had got her instructions, followed him to the 
door. 

" But please tell me first what my work is to be 
this morning; what does Mr. Clyne wish me to do 
exactly ? " 

"To do? Ah, yes; why, to catalogue the 
books." 

" To catalogue them, yes ; but how ? Accord- 
ing to subject, according to shelves, or alpha- 
betically?" 

"Well," said the Father, dreamily, "there is 
no doubt much to be said for either method, and 
there are yet two others: you might tabulate 
according to authors alphabetically, as well as 
titles, or again according to date. This last has 
much to recommend it, don*t you think? Well, 
I'll leave you to your labours." He bowed and 
glided away. 

Anstace felt much inclined to catch him by the 
cassock and detain him forcibly till he had vouch- 
safed some sort of practical direction : she followed 
him into the corridor down which he was moving. 

" One moment. Father, I beg; surely Mr. Clyne 



232 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

has some preference among all these methods. 
Could I perhaps see him and know what he 
wishes ? " 

*^ I don't think he is up yet; it is one of his 
gloomy days, when he does not care to see even 
me. I don't think I would disturb him with a 
message if I were you." 

" Then pray tell me how I am to proceed." 

*^ I think I should begin with the Greek Fathers ; 
we have a very fine collection of these : they are — 
some of them — on the lower shelves at the north 
end. At least they should be, but you will proba- 
bly find it necessary to rearrange the shelves ; they 
have got a little mixed." 

" Won't you tell me what plan you started on? " 
said Anstace, getting desperate; ^' Mr. Clyne told 
me you had begun a catalogue." 

" Why, so I did, I believe. My papers should 
be somewhere about. Mr. Clyne thought it was 
no use my going on with them ; he said if I did the 
catalogue on that scale it would be nearly as large 
as the library, and require a catalogue of its own. 
I'll come back and look; perhaps we can find my 
memoranda." 

After a little vague rambling round the room, 
in the course of which he showed Anstace a variety 
of interesting things which did not bear on the 
matter in hand, he opened, quite casually as it were, 
the rounded top of an antique bureau; a sheaf of 
papers had been thrust hastily inside, and he looked 
at them with a dawning smile, as a child recognises 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 233 

a half-forgotten toy. " Ah, what were we looking 
for? Wasn't it these? Now you can get on." 
And therewith he really made his escape. 

So Anstace seated herself before the bureau, and 
began by examining the crumpled mass of papers. 
They were all on loose leaves and they were not 
fastened together, neither were they paged, so their 
consecutive order could only be decided by the 
running on of the sentences. As to plan, it ap- 
peared extremely doubtful whether any could be 
discovered by their help. The composition began 
as a catalogue, but by imperceptible degrees the 
catalogue became a commentary, and the commen- 
tary a dissertation, full, apparently, so far as An- 
stace could judge, of profound learning, but desti- 
tute of any order or sequence. In so far as there 
had been any scheme at all, the original design 
seemed to have been to give the title-page in full, 
with date and place of publication, but upon this 
had arisen a whole superstructure of notes, some- 
times relating the history of the setting-up of 
the printing press whence the work issued, and 
of the men who established it; the life-story, 
in fact, of Aldus and the Plantin family had been 
woven in, and from this branched references to 
other works published by the same men, by whom 
written, and under what circumstances produced; 
and when to these particulars were added disquisi- 
tions on the contents, the effect was simply bewil- 
dering. It was clear no catalogue could be pro- 
duced on this scale in one man's lifetime, had 



234 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

, Anstace herself been possessed of sufficient learning 
to attempt one. 

Perplexed and wearied by her guide, she pres- 
ently thought she would explore the shelves for 
herself a little, and since the least attainable is 
always the most attractive, mounted the step- 
ladder to see what the uppermost shelf con- 
tained. Here there seemed to be all sorts of 
oddments and quiddities, and, perching on the top 
step, she was soon laughing to herself over the 
fantastic woes of Timothy Testy and Samuel Sen- 
sitive, in a queer old book entitled The Miser- 
ies of Human Life, not sorry to unbend after 
her struggle with Father lanstone's unassorted 
learning. 

" I could supply the sensitive Samuel with a 
new one from this morning's experience," she said 
to herself: " a gadfly settling on your ankle as you 
are free-wheeling down hill in an open-work stock- 
ing." She laughed out loud at the picture she 
conjured up of Samuel careering downhill on a 
bicycle, but suddenly was checked by the sound of 
a voice below her. 

"Who's that laughing? Is that you, Mrs. 
Claude ? Where are you ? " 

"Up here at the top of the step-ladder," she 
said, descending nimbly, with the guilty feeling of 
a schoolboy caught scrawling on his slate instead 
of doing his sums the very first day. " I was 
examining the shelves, and I came across such a 
funny book, I could not help laughing over it." 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 235 

Mr. Clyne gave his queer inward chuckle. " If 
you are going to read all the books before you 
begin cataloguing, you won't make much more 
progress than the Father." 

" The truth is," said Anstace, " that I hardly 
know how to begin. It is all so vast; if you will 
give me an idea of how you want it done, I will 
set to work at once." 

"Oh, Father lanstone will do that; he has a 
very fine notion of what the ideal catalogue should 
be, but he gets carried away, he knows too much." 

" And I know too little, I am afraid." 

" Well, just now I want you to write one or 
two letters for me; you know enough for that, I 
suppose? " 

Anstace found the wherewithal in the bureau 
and seated herself before it, pen in hand. It was 
satisfactory to her employer, who was a man of 
few words, that she asked no question and made 
no comment, simply observing, " I am ready." 
Two or three business letters were disposed of, 
and then Mr. Clyne asked to have the paper read 
to him, which lasted till lunch-time. 

" After lunch we'll have some Greek," he said, 
to Anstace's measureless trepidation. The writing 
was slightly alarming at first, but she wrote rap- 
idly, and soon got into the way of repeating the 
last word as she wrote it. But the Greek I Should 
she ever be able to satisfy the ear of one brought 
up on scholastic Greek according to Erasmus, with 
the pronunciation as she had been taught it; the 



236 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

traditional Hellenic handed down in the services 
of the Church, blent with the curious swinging 
cadence, the different sounds, such as y for oi, of 
the modern tongue? It was more alarming than 
the herculean labour of the catalogue. 

But the reading went off better than she had 
dared to hope. In the odd convolutions of Eldred 
Clyne's mind there was a distinct preference for 
the abnormal: he liked the novelty of the sound, 
and pleased himself with the notion that what came 
so rhythmically from the lips of this sweet-voiced 
woman was probably far nearer the sound of the 
true Greek of old than what English scholars with 
their arbitrary rules had made it. For after all, 
save in their hands, when was it ever a dead 
language ? 

Luckily for Anstace his choice to-day fell upon 
Theocritus, which she had read with Basil on that 
dream voyage among the islands, a voyage she 
began to think she had indeed taken but in dreams. 
She would have said she could never endure to read 
them aloud to another; but she found herself re- 
covering the stress and fall of the strophe with a 
strange pleasure mingled with pain, in that the 
pain itself should be so dreamy and unreal. Was 
she indeed ceasing to feel? ceasing to care? Or 
was it rather that her present life, her present em- 
ployment, seemed hardly to belong to the actual? 

Her day's work varied from one day to another ; 
sometimes she saw her employer and read or wrote 
for him, sometimes not, just according as he was in 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 237 

the mood. Visitors there seemed none : Mr. Clyne 
had the reputation of a recluse, and the nei^bour- 
hood rarely intruded. Occasionally, especially if 
she had been reading or writing for him in the 
morning, he would be talkative at lunch, indulging 
in a dry, caustic humour, very often at the expense 
of the Father, who talked not at all, but usually 
brought a book to the table, mixing the affairs of 
the meal with those of his study in his odd, absent- 
minded way. Nevertheless Anstace grew fond of 
the old priest, and was always glad when he drifted 
into the library in search of a book and fell into 
discussion, though she had learned that to ask his 
aid on the catalogue was no way to lighten her 
labours. 

She discovered presently that the little " priest's 
hole " which had been assigned her as a dressing- 
room communicated by a winding stair with the 
garden below, and, with her^ love of exploring, it 
was not many days before she made her way thither 
in her brief leisure after lunch. Passing through 
a little postern, she found herself in the Paradise 
or Pleasaunce of olden time: a long, smooth, bow- 
ling green of turf, exquisitely kept, ran the length 
of the library wall, the spaces between the but- 
tresses being filled with old-fashioned flowers, 
fritillaries, gilliflowers, '^ lilies of all natures, the 
flower de luce being one *' ; that is what we now 
call the iris, or flag. 

Following the length of the green, she turned 
at the end sharp to the left, down a Albert walk, 



238 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

which started from a niche in a yew hedge holding 
the statue of Diana, and ended with a similar one 
filled by a Faun. Beyond this a fantastic archway 
in stone, with a little iron gate, the like of which 
she had never seen before, for its tracery held a 
row of little bells which rang softly when pushed, 
gave upon a rose garden, already beginning to 
unfold its beauties in the May sunshine ; from this 
again two steps led down to a Dutch garden, with 
formal edgings of box between which the parrot 
tulips were ablaze. All round was a hedge of 
clipped yew, quite six feet thick; an opening in this, 
guarded by a pair of peacocks, models of topiary 
art, displayed a dial of flowers surrounding a foun- 
tain of gold fish that might have been designed by 
the great Solomon de Caus himself for the pleasure 
of the Queen of Hearts. A smaller enclosure be- 
yond held nothing but pansies, of every pattern 
and hue, from black to sulphur colour; crossing 
this, Anstace found herself in the Italian garden, 
with its smooth lawns and ranks of cypress alter- 
nating with statues from the antique, which she had 
first looked upon from below. Here she stayed 
her steps. True, Mr. Clyne would not see her, 
but his ears were quick, and she did not want to 
seem an Inveterate trespasser. 

It seemed piteous that all this beauty should 
have been laid out for one whose eyes could no 
longer rejoice in it. She turned to retrace her 
steps, but it was early yet to go in and resume her 
work, so, coming out of the Italian garden, she 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 239 

followed a winding path downwards through a 
"wilderness," in which art and nature competed 
very much according to the ideal of Bacon in his 
wonderful Garden Essay. 

Here the ground fell away abruptly and the 
path grew mossy and presently entered a beech- 
wood, which, though small, had the solemnity of 
a temple, with its massive columns lifted to heaven 
and its roof of tender green, through which the 
sunlight filtered as though through lofty clerestory 
windows. She walked on in the dream-like hush, 
and through an archway of trees caught the gleam 
of water. No wild, woodland pool this, but a 
series of oblong fishponds, divided by formal grass 
walks, along which the trees stood in double ranks. 
On the further side a cassocked figure paced 
slowly, breviary in hand, and Anstace could for a 
moment have fancied that one of the monks had 
come to revisit his old haunts. But it was Father 
Ianstone« hastening to meet her with his benignant 
smile. 

" So you have come to visit my domain? All 
of the past, you see, but I think you love the past." 

" It is lovely," said Anstace, joining him; " but 
it is like a dream." 

" It is all part of the old monastery up yonder, 
now, alas, but a few heaps of stone under the net- 
tles In the field that slopes up there the other side 
of the combe. By the bye, do you never come 
that way? It would surely be a short cut from 
Moimt Misery; I always go up to St. Rock's Head 



240 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

by it : it is the old Priest's Way, and connected the 
chantry with the parent house." 

"Oh, I know it; it is what Mr. Angel calls 
Prestway. I must have come by it that first day 
when I arrived so unceremoniously, but I'm afraid 
its ancient paving stones do not lend themselves 
to my modem method of locomotion, and the 
bicycle does save so much time." 

" True : a case of * The longest way round, the 
shortest way home.' Well, here we are at the 
chapel, which the Squire has rebuilt. You would 
not think it a restoration, would you? We 
eschewed ^ carpenter's gothic ' and used the old 
stone as far as it would go ; what was lacking we 
had from Mount Misery, which I believe supplied 
the original stone some six centuries ago. I had 
a fond dream that Mr. Clyne might perhaps 
have rebuilt the monastery also, but — well, well, 
we must look forward: some day, perhaps — 
Now I am going to read None. Will you come, 
or are you too Protestant ? " 

" I am not Protestant at all," said Anstace ; " I 
belong to the Orthodox Communion; I suppose 
I may come?" 

" Surely." He looked at her curiously, but made 
no comment. At the door he left her, and, going 
into the little belfry, pulled a few strokes of the 
bell, which rang out lustily across the lonely hills ; 
then after a moment reappeared, vested in a short 
surplice over the cassock he habitually wore, with- 
out acolyte or servitor, and proceeded to recite in 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 241 

a rapid, monotonous undertone, which his congre- 
gation of one could scarcely follow. She was not 
familiar enough with the form to respond with 
antiphon, but she could say her paternoster, and 
recognised the Animae fideliutn, with which the 
office closed. 

As they walked back together and came through 
the shadowy wood into the sunlit garden, she ex- 
pressed the pathetic regret with which the sight 
of its lonely, wasted beauty filled her. 

" What a strangely lovely old-world garden it 
is ; it looks as if it had been laid out to please some- 
one, and there is no one to be pleased. It might 
have been for some flower-loving dame of the 
seventeenth century; there is hardly a flower in 
it that might not have flourished then." 

"It was, originally, or even a little earlier; 
about the last half of the sixteenth it must have 
been. A Sir Eldred Clyne, of that day, laid it out 
to please his young wife, in the newest taste and 
fashion, for she was a maid-of-honour of Queen 
Elizabeth's court. He called it Bien-aime, since 
corrupted into Binamy by the local tongue — and 
went away to the wars; the crusades, the' guide- 
books will tell you, really the war with the Turks 
on the Austrian frontier, which was the running 
sore of Europe throughout the sixteenth century. 
He fought in the company of Philip Count Pala- 
tine of the Rhine, and had the mishap to be taken 
prisoner, and carried to the galleys. After some 
years he escaped, and made his way home, to find 



242 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

that Margot, la bien-aimee, despairing of his re- 
turn, had wedded his cousin, Sir Ralph. Well, 
well, history repeats itself." 

Anstace could not see the sequence of the last 
sentence. " Has it always been kept up like this 
ever since, for all these centuries?" she asked. 

^' Hardly, I should think; but there must always 
have remained traces of the old order, for another 
Eldred Clyne, our man's cousin, on succeeding to 
the property, had it restored as now you see it, for 
the pleasure of another woman, not a Margot, but 
a Rosamond, his sweetheart and his mother's ward. 
He was over young to marry, so he was sent to 
travel for a year, and having designed the gardens, 
he entrusted the work to a young fellow, half 
architect, half landscape gardener, whom he had 
got to know at Oxford, and in whose career he in- 
terested himself. Rosamond was to supervise it 
all, and have it carried out just as she fancied. 
The young man, of course, was down here con- 
tinually; he was a very handsome lad, while Mr. 
Clyne, like his cousin, was never otherwise than 
plain and odd-looking — the Clynes are always 
ugly; they pride themselves on it. Well, neither 
the mother nor I saw what was coming; yet I 
suppose it was natural." 

" Was it? " said Anstace; " a bad sort of nature 
that could betray lover and benefactor." 

" You may well call him that ; he behaved very 
generously, settled money upon the girl, since his 
mother cast her off ; but it embittered him. Most 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 243 

men, I suppose, would have gone abroad again or 
flung themselves into dissipation; he did neither, 
nor did he follow the steps of the former Eldred : 
he never had a vacation. The end was tragic." 
He stopped. 

'' Did he destroy himself? '' asked Anstace, im- 
pressed by his tone. 

"Worse; he shut himself up here and went 
mooning about the garden, especially the little 
pansy garden : they were her favourite flowers, and 
she had designed that herself; then he took to 
drugs ; the morphia habit is the most fatal doom ; 
a few years saw the end of it. And then came his 
cousin, another recluse, another disappointed man. 
If you can win him from growing morbid over his 
affliction, your trespass will have been a most 
fortunate mvasion." 



IV 

Anstace was soon quite at her ease with her 
'^ tame ogre," as she mentally dubbed her em- 
ployer. He was really a very gentle beast, when 
you took him the right way, spite of preliminary 
growlings; not unlike certain bulldogs, ferocious 
of aspect, but of mild manners. So one day she 
took courage to ask him a question anent the 
book-plate which had so exercised her curiosity 
since the day she found it within the covers of the 
dropped Antigone. She had observed that it was 
borne by certain of the books on the lower shelves 
nearest the hearth, while the main collection had 
only the Clyne crest. One day it chanced he had 
come to the library to ask her to find and read him 
a passage from one of those very books, and, as 
she looked it out, she asked, '' How is it that some 
of these books have this strange Ex Libris and the 
others only the crest? " 

"Why, those are my books; didn't you guess 
that? My own, I mean; the rest are mine in 
another sense, belonging to my ancestors, to me, 
and to whomsoever may come after me." 

'* I saw there was a difference," she said. 

" Aye, and do you know what the difference is? 
Those " — he waved his hand in the direction of 
the richly laden shelves — " those were bought with 

244 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 245 

mere money; these, with toil and health and 
pleasure — even food sometimes." 

Anstace looked at him surprised, and he went 
on in sort of brooding, reminiscent tone, ^'Aye, 
the choice more than once has lain between some 
book I coveted — ^and books were not so cheap five- 
and-twenty years ago as they are to-day — and a 
needed great-coat, or even a square meal, and I 
have shivered or stayed my hunger with bread and 
cheese. You seem astonished," as she uttered a 
little sympathetic murmur of surprise. " Do I 
look as if I had always lived in the lap of luxury? 
Do you suppose I minded it? Not I; those days 
are good to look back upon, the earliest of them, at 

least. I'll tell you what I did mind ^' He 

broke off, felt for the book that lay on the table 
between them, and laid the cover back. "You 
wanted to know what this means : can't you read 
It for yourself? Tell me what you see." 

" A tree," said Anstace, " with its roots grap- 
pled among strange things, skuUs and cross-bones, 
jewels and crowns." 

" That is Ygdrasil, the tree of knowledge, 
rooted in the past with its wealth and its decay." 

" It puts forth leaves, flowers, and fruit, and 
hands snatch at them." 

" Well, that needs no interpreter; go on." 

" At the top a laurel wreath is being placed on 
the head of a dead man." 

" Is not that the world's way ? Honour for the 
dead, riches for hands mouldering in the grave 



246 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

which can grasp no longer, recognition for deaf 
ears?" 

" But how horribly sad I " cried she. 

^'Are things less true for being sad| pray? 
Strangford's bitter little rhyme sums It up well 
enough : 

"What is it, Life? a little strife 
Where victories are vain, 
Where those who conquer do not win, 
Nor those receive who gain." 

" Tell me one thing more: why is the horrible 
head not a skull ? Why does it look only a short 
while dead ? It is so much more dreadful." 

" That is the irony of the thing, don't you see? 
Once let a man pass beyond the need of reward, 
and the world will turn round and shower it upon 
him. I knew a man once — ^the only man I ever did 
know personally whom I would call a genius — 
who could not twist and pervert his powers to 
paint the only sort of pictures the British public 
loves ; who had to accept a pound or two for things 
into which his very life had been poured, just to 
keep a roof over his head. He died, if not actually 
of starvation, of an illness brought on by privation 
and worry, and a year after dealers were outbid- 
ding each other in three figures for his mere 
sketches and studies. That thing was drawn by 
a pal of his. And when I came here I bought it 
and made it my own. You have read Gissing, I 
daresay? Well, I, too, have lived in Grub Street." 

^^ It seemed a strange moment," ventured his 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 247 

hearer, ''to adopt that device when wealth and 
case had come to you, living." 

"Am I living? Thanks for the information." 

There was silence for a minute or two ; then he 
stretched out a long leg and kicked at the glowing 
log; it fell on the hearth with a crash and the 
flame and sparks went flying up. It was a favourite 
action of his, for he could still see the light if it 
was bright. Presently he resumed, as if there had 
been no break: 

" When I went down into the arena I had one 
or two illusions; one was a conviction that good 
work was sure to find a market, that folks were 
rewarded more or less according to their deserv- 
ings, and I intended to deserve; moreover, I in- 
tended to stand on my own feet. I could have had 
help from here if I had cared to cringe for it, but 
I spumed it and went my own way. I put my back 
into my work, to be told by one publisher after 
another that the stuff was very able, very interest- 
ing, but the public did not care for that sort of 
thing. What the public did want seemed to be 
just what I had not to give it : spicy scandal, cheap 
Theology, Science made easy. The best years of 
my life went by in trying to write salable articles, 
which I did very badly, and ruining my eyesight 
grubbing amongst the MSS. in the British Mu- 
seum and elsewhere for other men's labours, that 
I might put bread into my mouth." 

"And did freedom and wealth come so late? " 
queried Anstace, in sympathising tones. 



248 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" Freedom I Where was the use of it when I 
could no longer work? Wealth 1 I had never 
cared for money for its own sake ; I only craved it 
as a tangible evidence of recognition, as my day's 
wage for an honest day's work. My eyes had 
begun to fail before I came here; the rest came too 
late to save them. I had always loved woods and 
fields beyond all things: soon the tints of spring 
and of autumn were the same to me. I had always 
had a passion for sailing: since I have owned a 
yacht I must needs be content to sail in her as a 
passenger." He ceased. 

"Why don't you read that passage I asked 
for?" he said abruptly, after a minute's pause 
which Anstace had not liked to break. She had 
felt instinctively that he would resent any out- 
spoken sympathy, though it had seemed to relieve 
him to pour out his tirade against the world's in- 
justice; but she was turning over a certain sug- 
gestion in her mind. 

" I will, in a moment," she said, " but I was 
thinking. I wonder if you are aware what treas- 
ures you possess here in the way of old letters, 
MSS., leases, charters, what not, bearing on the 
history of your family? " 

"Well, what then?" 

" Being a writer of experience, you might surely 
compile something very interesting out of it; say 
the story of Pucksdown Abbey from its founding 
to its dissolution." 

" Pshaw, who wants to read it? " 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 249 

" You might be independent of favour now," 

" I have done with work; you may do it your- 
self, if you choose." 

" II " cried Anstace; " as your amanuensis, you 
mean? I will order and sort the papers for you, 
read them out to you, and write at your dictation ; 
more I will not attempt." 

" Well, now will you read out that passage I 
have been asking for? " 

Anstace obeyed, but she knew her cause was 
won. 

It was some time, however, before the work 
took shape; Mr. Clyne went back into his shell in 
a ferociously unsociable mood, and for two or 
three weeks she saw little of anyone but Father 
lanstone, and gave her attention chiefly to the cata- 
logue. He used to amble in and out, and was 
always ready to answer questions, but as regards 
any definite help he was but a broken reed. He 
would discourse learnedly on the contents of the 
books by the hour, or on the history of their pro- 
duction ; had she been writing a critical resume, he 
could have supplied her with a mass of hetero- 
geneous material, but of ideas for a workable plan 
he was destitute, and she soon found she must 
either rely on her own common sense, or give up 
the job. She elected to try the former alternative 
first, and set herself, shelf by shelf, to write down 
title, author, and date, to be sorted afterwards into 
some kind of order. 

One morning she was intently busy, sitting on 



250 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

the floor, scribbling In a note-book on her knee, 
while a pile of huge tomes from the lowest shelf 
grew up beside her, threatening presently to over- 
whelm her. Into the hushed calm that was the 
normal atmosphere of the library came the sound 
of a step more rapid and decided than that of 
either Mr. Clyne or the Father, accompanied by 
a whistle that sounded strangely young in that still 
house; the door on the cloister side was pushed 
open, and on the threshold appeared Peter White- 
thome, who stood stock-still in amazement at the 
sight of her. 

" You here 1 " he exclaimed, taking a stride for- 
ward with eager outstretched hand, as she scram- 
bled to her feet. "Why, how on earth— oh, I 
beg your pardon; how rude of me, but I was 
so astonished." 

" Oh, I am librarian and secretary,*' said she 
calmly; " though how I came to be so is rather a 
long story which I will relate to you some time." 

" By Jove I " ejaculated the visitor. " You see, 
the rum thing is that this is the very post I tried 
to obtain for you in vain months ago, only Mr. 
Clyne would not hear of employing a lady. How 
did you hear of it ? " 

" I didn't hear of it; I tumbled into it in the 
most extraordinary way. I had better explain: 
seized by an exploring spirit, I one day trespassed, 
not only in Mr. Clyne's woods, but in his very 
yacht, and losing the little boat, found myself a 
prisoner there alone all night; in the morning I 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 251 

was rescued by Father lanstone, who brought me 
up here, and the upshot was, that having heard me 
speak the title of a Greek book I picked up In my 
queer, Romaic fashion, the Squire offered me the 
post of librarian and amanuensis/* 

^^ The most astonishing thing I " he exclaimed. 

" It sounds an incredible tale, I know, still — 
here I am." 

" And do you like it?" 

" I should like it if I had the least idea how to 
perform the task I have rashly undertaken. It is 
extraordinarily fascinating, this world of books; 
I don't believe I ever saw so many together in my 
life, and Tm sure I never thought I should get 
so fond of them. But doesn't it seem to you un- 
accountable that such a collection should have ex- 
isted and slowly grown up through all these years 
without the ghost of a catalogue? If only there 
had been the mere skeleton of one it would have 
been easy, comparatively, to bring it up to date; 
but to begin ab ovo, one does not know where to 
take hold first." 

" It is rather a colossal task," said Peter; " may 
I see how you are beginning? Oh, haphazard, I 
see, just as they happen to lie on the shelves." 

*^ It seemed the only way at first ; I was going 
to sort them out afterwards, when I had made up 
my mind what plan to go upon." 

" But, look here : you haven't put the place of 
publication as well as the date; that's a most im- 
portant point, you know.'* 



252 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

"Is iti^ I didn't know. I am afraid I am 
supremely ignorant; Pm not sure I ought not to 
resign as incompetent; but somehow the thing has 
taken hold of me ; I don't want to give it up." 

" m tell you what you had better do : there 
are heaps of books written on the science of cata- 
loguing by experts ; tell the Squire he must get you 
one, and go to work upon that." 

" Why, so I will ; I wonder I had not the sense 
to think of it. Since Mr. Clyne would not give 
me any help, and Father lanstone could not — ^he 
is the most vague, irresponsible, delightful creature 
in the world — I was just struggling along by the 
light of my own ignorance, continually hoping I 
might come across some earlier effort in the same 
direction." 

"Why, there was one; there were some very 
valuable ancient codices, and based on them a splen- 
did catalogue compiled by a former chaplain, but 
the legend goes that Father lanstone dropped it 
into the sea in one of his absent fits, or burnt it 
in mistake for a bundle of old sermons. He 
started replacing it, but the scale he worked on was 
altogether too big ; in about nine years he had not 
got half through A in spite of having taken ex- 
cursions into Y and Z, and for a year past the 
Squire has been on the lookout for someone com- 
bining several impossible qualifications, who could 
undertake it, and finding objections to everyone 
who presented himself, for he has a morbid horror 
of strangers. Don't you throw it up, for since 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 253 

he has chosen you himself, there Is some chance 
that you may get it done.** 

" If I don't, like the Father, spend all my time 
in reading the books and dreaming over them; I 
had no idea the temptations would be so great. 
Forgive me, if I am indiscreet, but I do rather 
wonder the Squire did not offer the post to you." 

" He did, thinking I mifeht have leisure time, 
and so I have, in a way, but — ^well, the conditions 
of my work require that I should be always more 
or less on the spot, do you see? ** 

Anstace did see, more clearly since Lemuel 
Honeybun*s revelations. 

" Of course," she said, " to make any way at all, 
I find one must be here for a certain definite num- 
ber of hours every day. That would never do for 
a country parson; like the housewife's, his work 
is never done.** 

" I should have loved it, though,** said Peter, his 
fond, scholar's look travelling slowly over the 
loaded shelves. ^' It is very good of Mr. Clyne ; he 
has accorded me the free run of it whenever I want 
to consult a book, with a kind of implied proviso 
that I don't make it the occasion of a formal call 
to ask leave each time, but come and go by the 
cloister door. Shall I disturb you if I hunt 
amongst the Fathers ? ** 

'^ Not the least; we can each ply our own task 
without interfering with each other." 

And Anstace resolutely returned to her dusty 
pile, and went through all her notes again, making 



254 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

careful entry of place of publication, as Peter had 
directed. After her long indulgence in solitude 
she found she rather liked the silent presence at 
the other end of the room; the scratching of his 
pen as he made notes, the rustling of the leaves of 
a big folio as he turned them, were even more 
companionable than the song of the thrushes and 
blackbirds outside, the drone of a bumble bee, or 
the soft swish of the scythe as the gardeners mowed 
the close-kept bowling green outside. She quite 
missed him when presently he got up, replaced his 
big book, silently nodded to her, and went away. 



With the waxing summer, a truant spirit came 
upon Anstace. She had never in her life been used 
to work steadily at anything, and interesting as she 
found her task, there were days when she almost 
refused it, so insistent was the call to idleness. 
Even the cloistral charm of the Golden Bowl, the 
ordered pageant of its pleached alleys, its goldfish, 
its peacocks, and its doves, began to pall; she 
wanted to roam at will over the bald headlands, 
and taste the pungent breath of gorse and bracken 
instead of the incense of lilies and roses, and to 
hear the sea gulls scream. 

It was a marvellous coast of heights and hollows, 
which for all its sternness, forbade monotony; a 
great rampart of hill rose between the coast-line 
and the inland country, broken on the sea side by 
deep combes, sometimes stopping short with a 
sheer drop of a few hundred feet, sometimes per- 
mitting a steep scramble down to the beach. Two 
courses were open to the wayfarer who wished to 
follow the coast ; either he might keep to the high 
level, half a mile or so from the sea, and so make 
his way round the head of the combes, satisfied 
with a grand, if distant, panorama, or he might 
trace the edge by the narrow coastguard track, 
alternating between break-back climbs and break- 

255 



256 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

neck descents, sustained by enchanting glimpses of 
fantastic rocks, broken off from the mainland and 
standing out to sea in ordered ranks, in solitary 
pinnacles, in arched doorways. Or visions still 
more entrancing were to be gained by one with a 
steady head, of the queer untidy homes on nar- 
row ledges and sills where the sea gulls brought up 
their young, while at the sight of a human face 
peering over into their privacy, crowds would fly 
out with angry, apprehensive wails or mocking 
laughter. 

Far out on some lonely peak, surrounded by the 
sea, a family of shag would perch, each on his 
separate pinnacle, the father-bird standing erect 
with wings spread wide as though to dry in the 
sun, a feat the young ones tried to imitate without 
overbalancing; or on some lower ledge a row of 
puffin stood like a form of school children in their 
white pinafores, ready to say their catechism. 

Then the flowers! The poorer the soil, the 
gayer the carpet of stone-crop, golden and pink and 
mottled red, with tufts of rosy thrift and vivid sam- 
phire growing where was no foothold, and on the 
slopes the grey sea-poppy with its purple eye, or 
the horned sort, with flaunting yellow blossoms; 
best of all the bugloss, the like of which Anstace 
had never seen, with tall spikes of bright blue 
flowers and crimson buds, standing in ranks 
against a background of blue sea, making a 
harmony of tone that was like music made 
visible. 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 257 

Anstace stood at the gate and looked south- 
ward to a sapphire sea ; the spicy breath of all the 
warm, young, sprouting things that clothed the 
hills with a close-woven garment was in her nos- 
trils; her ears were filled with the multitudinous 
murmur of the bees, above which the lark's note 
soared shrill, like a melody with a running ac- 
companiment. Such a morning was not made for 
work, but play, and though she often told herself 
that her soul was dead, and she was old, her life 
was yet quick in her veins. A sudden resolution 
seized her, and she turned back into the house. 

*' Could I get anybody to take a note up to 
Binamy, do you think, Mrs. Chinchen, to say I 
am not going this morning? " 

" What, ma'am, ain't you feeling well? " Abi- 
gail came hastening to the scullery door with a tea- 
cup in one hand and a glass-cloth in the other. 

" A great deal too well, my dear soul, to shut 
myself up all day in a musty library with dusty 
books. Look I Did you ever see such a blue and 
gold morning ? Give me * a piece ' for my dinner, 
there's a dear, and I'll be off for all day." 

Mrs. Chinchen looked dubious; to her dutiful 
soul it seemed an impossible thing to fail to ap- 
pear at the appointed time to fulfil the appointed 
task. 

" Wouldn't it be best to ask for a day off be- 
forehand ? " she deferentially suggested. 

" And then probably it would turn over-cast or 
blow up cold, and I might as well be working ; no, 



258 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

the very essence of the thing Is to snatch the mo- 
ment as It flies." 

" Well, Billy ScnifEn would take a note, I am 
sure, on his way to school — If he hasn't started 
yet — ^and give It to the baker who goes to Binamy 
every morning, but you'll have to be quick. He's 
a good little boy, but don't you trust to Tim, Idle 
little varmint.'* 

So Anstace scribbled her note of apology, 
much as though she were excusing herself from 
a party to which she had no mind, and betook her- 
self to the nearest of the quarry hamlets, where 
dwelt Mrs. Scruffin, a quarrier's wife with a ^^ long 
family," the elder members of which were en- 
trusted with errands for the household at Mount 
Misery. The responsible Billy had, however, 
already departed for school In charge of an infant 
contingent which travelled slowly, and following 
the way they had taken in hopes of overtaking the 
little cavalcade, she soon perceived a small boy 
loitering by the roadside, trying to catch a bumble- 
bee In his fat, hot hand, his treacle-stained mouth 
and chin attesting the Improvident temper which 
already at nine o'clock In the morning had con- 
sumed his "dinner-piece." Prudence counselled 
her to pursue Billy, who could be descried In the 
distance, at the top of the hill, ^epherdlng his 
toddling flock, but Anstace, this morning, found 
herself more in sympathy with the vagrant Tim, 
and was In haste to travel sea-ward, so she en- 
trusted her note to his faithless hand and a penny 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 259 

to his ragged pocket in defiance of warnings, and 
with a light heart pursued her road. 

This idle and pleasurable mood kept her com- 
pany as she walked, now hastening to breast a hill, 
now lingering to rest upon its summit; anon 
crouching at the edge to lean over as far as she 
dared to spy upon the domestic arrangements of 
the sea gulls. She found an ideal hollow to lunch 
in, sloping sea-ward, cushioned with thyme and 
fringed round with gaudy poppies and bugloss. 
Neither was she without company, for a goldfinch 
came to share her meal, perching on a neighbour- 
ing thistle and condescending to snatch with sud- 
den dart the crumbs she scattered. She had 
brought no book to read: ^'I have had books 
enough for one while," she told herself, and truly 
there was reading In abundance spread out before 
her in sea and sky. So, her meal finished, she 
took off her hat and nestled into the bank, watch- 
ing, watching, till her mind seemed to float out 
to sea, and she had fallen into a light doze. 

Why is it that while we may cheat sorrow for a 
time when we are up and doing, no sooner do we 
fall asleep than we yield ourselves an easy prey? 
It seems as though we doffed our armour to sleep, 
and when we wake the enemy is upon us before 
we can do it on again. Anstace had been living 
in sensation, and on this June morning sensation 
meant pleasure; she had dropped asleep cheer- 
fully enough, but as she unclosed her eyes a mental 
shiver ran over her as she realised she must once 



26o THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

more creep into that black garment of woe which 
it seemed was to be her only wear while life should 
last. For by this time hope had sickened and died ; 
the silence had lasted nine months; it was little 
likely it would ever be broken now. 

Across all the pleasantness of the fair day was 
written that might-have-been by which beauty and 
joy only intensify grief. On just such a morn- 
ing she might have been walking on such a sea- 
girt coast, in a sunshine more radiant than England 
knows, beside the man in whose company 'there 
was for her that strange sense of well-being, that 
tranquil content, which are like an atmosphere 
isolating two human beings from all the world 
besides. And that joy had been snatched from her 
at the very moment of fruition. Why? And 
what did it mean? It seemed so purposeless, so 
arbitrary. She found herself, she knew not why, 
plunged back into the old sea of questionings. A 
quarrel would have been at least comprehensible; 
death itself would not have been so utter a sever- 
ance. She realised with a fresh access of despair 
that whatever experience came to her, she should 
never be able to cheat herself for long with the 
phantom of enjoyment, but should be always beat- 
ing her hands upon that closed door, clamouring 
for the half of her life that was locked away be- 
hind it. 

She was face to face with the eternal riddle of 
the universe which occupies so many thoughtful 
minds with ' wonderings, questionings, and specu- 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 261 

lations, and to others is brought home by concrete 
personal experience. Why, in a world so full of 
the possibilities of happiness for which each one 
instinctively craves, must so many lose it — ^worse, 
miss it altogether? That is the question for hu- 
manity at large; the stricken individual soul asks, 
Why should the lot have fallen upon me ? What 
becomes of the Eternal Justice which lies behind 
men's conceptions of what is fair, upon which are 
based the dealings of man with man, if sentient 
beings are brought into the world, without their 
own will, without their own consent, to dree a 
weird that is none of their own making ? Like Job, 
Anstace had questioned her own soul as to what 
she had done to bring this calamity upon her, and, 
. like Job, she stood up and declared her innocence. 
The answer of Job's three friends did not meet 
his case, neither would it hers. It were easier to 
bow the head before an unthinkable mystery than 
to acknowledge insincerely that she had deserved 
the woe that had fallen upon her. St. Paul's ap- 
peal to the power of the Potter over the clay failed 
to satisfy her, since it left out the essential factor 
that in humanity a living soul, with its needs and its 
claims, was superadded to the clay. Granted, the 
Maker might make as He chose, it were none the 
less cruelty to make but for dishonour, unless there 
were a hidden cause that we must take on trust. 
Sometimes she was able to grasp for a little the 
possibility that suffering was not wholly an evil, 
that unseen purposes were being worked out at 



262 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

a price, that in our pain we are working blindly 
towards the consummation for which the whole 
earth is groaning and travailing in pain. This was 
the one thought that made her lot bearable and 
gave her courage to go on; but she could not 
always hold it fast. 

Just now she rebelled against it, for out there on 
the offing a sail gleamed with the living white of 
a sea gull's wing with the sun shining through it, 
and on those white wings her mind fared forth into 
the might-have-been. For just such snowy sails 
should have borne her to that little rocky, sea- 
washed strand that Basil had talked of till it had 
come to be to her as one of the Islands of the Blest. 
Stit could see it in her mind's eye ; the flat-topped, 
verandahed villa, built of sunlit marble on a terrace 
above the sea; the great, gaunt aloes standing in 
a fantastic group at one end; the grove of olive 
and ilex feathering the sides of a little cove, floored 
with sand of which each grain was a tiny shell; 
on the other the lofty, inaccessible cliff, where the 
sea birds wheeled and screamed as they did here, 
and beneath them the deep, cool, purple caves, 
only to be reached by a little boat, and into which 
the sunlight filtered, sapphire-blue. 

Ah I this was only the setting of the picture. 
What would she have cared had it been in Siberian 
snows, could she have felt once more the clasp of 
the tender hand, the strength of the enfolding arm, 
the broad shoulder against which her head had 
pillowed itself ; could she have heard the sound of 



THE GOLDEN BOWL '263 

that voice, so unlike any other, with its soft, 
foreign intonation. Had she, indeed, been be- 
fooled by beauty and charm, and loved her own 
fancy? Or did the reality of what she loved exist 
for her somewhere, shut out from her sight? 

In a very different mood from the morning's she 
took her way across the hills to Mount Misery. 
Abigail met her at the door with a rather anxious 
face. " Did you meet Father lanstone as you 
came back?" she asked. ''He was here asking 
for you about an hour ago.'* 

"What, didn't Mr. Clyne get my note? 
Wicked little Tim 1 " 

" Like as not he didn't, if Tim had it. I don't 
think he could, for he'd sent the Father to know 
if you were ill. I didn't rightly know what to say ; 
I told him you'd sent a note, I believed, and you'd 
gone out to get the fresh air; very likely the heat 
had made your head ache." 

" It was kind of you, dear, to suggest excuses ; 
I am afraid the fact remains that I have been a 
wicked and slothful servant, and judgment will 
fall upon me; I know I have deserved it." 

"Surely not, ma'am, for one day's failure; 
though to be sure there's never any telling how 
the Squire may take a thing; he's a very peculiar 
gentleman. I shouldn't worry if I was you; it'll 
all blow over, I make no doubt. But it's easy to 
see," she added, " that you have never been one 
of them that serve." 

Tired with her long day, and depressed by her 



264 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

own thoughts, Anstace did not go down to listen 
to the reading that evening, but went early to bed, 
not to sleep, but to lie tossing and worrying herself 
with the notion that she had fooled away the one 
thing in which she had taken solid comfort just 
for a whim: anon to assure herself that she had 
proved a failure, that her work was incompetent, 
and she had been little real help to the blind man 
she had longed to serve, and he would most likely 
be glad of an excuse to be rid of her. 

She set oif betimes In the morning, anxious to 
make her confession to her employer and meet her 
doom, whatever It might be. Just as she was 
wheeling her bicycle out of the gate she saw a man 
In the Binamy livery riding a cob and leading a 
rough, grey pony with a side-saddle on. She 
waited a moment lest he might be the bearer of a 
note to stop her. He dismounted and touched his 
hat, looking doubtfully at the bicycle. 

'* I was to bring the pony at half-past nine, 
ma'am; did you not wish to ride? " 

" To ride ? I don't understand." 

" Them was my orders, ma'am. If there was a 
quiet pony In the stable that would carry a lady, 
I was to put a side-saddle on him. and bring him 
along. He's perfectly quiet, ma'am, you needn't 
be afraid to trust yourself, not if you never was 
on one before." 

" Oh," said Anstace, " I am used enough to 
horses ; It Is only that this Is the first I have heard 
of it; are you sure there isn't some mistake? " 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 265 

At that moment Mr. Angel appeared round one 
of the great stacks of stone. 

" You need not trouble about your pony being 
looked after, Mrs. Claude ; there is plenty of room 
in the stable ; I don't keep many quarry horses now- 
a-days." 

" Thank you very much ; if I really am to have 
the use of this pony I shall be very glad to make 
some arrangement with you about it." 

*^ Oh, the Father has settled all that; It was to 
be no expense to you, Mr. Clyne particularly said. 
I understood he had arranged it all with you. He 
told me you found bicycling over these hills too 
much for you, as it well may be, and you were to 
ride in future." 

" Why, I never even saw him ; I haven't heard 
a word about it." 

" And he didn't even ask you if you could ride? 
How like himl" 

'' Luckily I can. I must just run up and put on 
a long skirt that must pass muster till I can get my 
habit." 

After a year's bicycling to feel the movement of 
a live horse under her once more, was a joy to 
Anstace, to trust to the judicious pacing of the 
nimble feet among the stones instead of guiding 
the senseless wheel between perils of punctures 
and perils of skidding, set her mind free; more- 
over she was able to take the shorter Priest's Way 
where each side of the wide, rough flags the ruts 
were so deep that to ride among them was worse 



266 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

than among tramlines. But her compunction was 
but the deeper; to have deserved, as she told her- 
self, dismissal, no less, and to be rewarded by the 
loan of a pony made her feel very guilty, when 
presently she stood in Mr. Clyne's presence and 
tried to make her apology. 

It was really a pity he could not see the blush 
that rose in her cheek and made her look ten 
years younger, as she faltered out her penitence 
for her remissness. " It wasn't as if I had really 
any reason," she said. ^' It was sheer idleness. I 
did write a note, but through my carelessness it 
never reached you. Fm rather glad it didn't, for 
I am ashamed of it now.'' 

" Full of false excuses, I suppose ; headache, 
business letters, and so forth, eh ? " 

"Quite the contrary; it was cool, so cool it 
makes me hot to think of. I believe I merely said 
it was too fine to come." 

Mr. Clyne uttered his curious grunting inward 
laugh, a laugh which always put Anstace in mind 
of a dog growling contentedly to himself over 
a bone. "And you have the bravado to con- 
fess it ? And there were Father lanstone and my- 
self distracted lest mischief should have befallen 
you by the way, and blaming ourselves for letting 
you travel on that machine of yours. Not long 
ago your friend Whitethome was reproaching me 
for letting you do it ; I believe he met you toiling 
up against the wind one day, but the matter had 
slipped my memory, till yesterday when you did 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 267 

not appear, I thought it was a judgment on me, 
and I was going to lose the only secretary who ever 
suited me. Well, that's enough said: now get 
along to work. And, by the bye " — as she was 
leaving the room — " consider yourself free to take 
a holiday any day you feel you need it.'' 

Whether he considered the permission in the 
light of leave accorded to the grocer's boy to take 
as many figs as he pleases, it had much the same 
eifect on Anstace. She went no more a-miching; 
in truth, her day's experience had shown her that 
roam far as she would, she could never get far 
enough to escape from herself and her sorrow. 



VI 

There is nothing more disturbing to a worker 
than the presence of a companion who is ill at ease, 
though he may utter no audible complaint, and be 
keeping his woes, so far as he is aware, entirely to 
himself. Anstace could make no progress with 
her catalogue while Peter sat with his back to her 
at a distant table, sighing, fidgeting, running his 
hands through his hair, and turning never a leaf 
of the big book open before him. Why did he 
come, she said impatiently to herself, if he didn't 
come to work ? 

Presently she closed her note-book and ap- 
proached the fire of logs that was burning merrily 
on the wide hearth, for the autumn was by this 
time well on its way. 

" I am debating with myself," she observed, 
" whether I will give up and go home ; I am mak- 
ing no progress this afternoon, or whether FU 
ring and ask for some tea and try another hour's 
work after a rest: it might go better, don't you 
think?" 

Peter pushed his chair half round. " I'm not 
getting on either. Can I have some, too? " 

" Surely." She rang, and while the servant was 
noiselessly arranging a little tea-table in the ingle- 
nook, she chattered easily of trivialities, debating 

268 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 269 

within herself the while whether she could venture 
to probe, and whether he would be grateful to her 
or the reverse; unlike Mr. Clyne, Peter was of a 
nature that craved sympathy, though upon his one 
constant anxiety be observed an unbroken reticence 
which she always respected. She knew all about 
that, she could not help knowing, and he knew that 
she did, but the topic was always silently ignored. 
She did not think this was the trouble now, for ^e 
had seen the old man that morning, looking un- 
usually wholesome and bright; he had been good 
for some time now. Presently, over the confi- 
dential tea-cups, she ventured a soft-voiced vague 
query that could be let slide or taken up, as might 
be. Peter seized it, gave a sort of groan, and ran 
his hand again through his always rough hair. 

'^ I'm in a hole," he said, '' and that's a fact, 
and I should awfully like your advice, only I don't 
quite know whether I ought to speak of it — ^though 
for the matter of that, it'll be all over the parish 
in a day, if it isn't now." 

He stopped and took a gulp of tea to help him 
out. Through the tangle of sentences Anstace had 
a glimmering perception of the nature of the 
difficulty, but till she saw clearer she judged it wise 
to hold her peace. His next utterance confirmed 
her view. 

"Why, oh, why haven't we a proper celibate 
priesthood, that a man may go about his work 
without being made a fool of at every turn 1 " 

"Next to that," she observed, "I think the 



270 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

custom in my Communion is the most sensible: a 
parish priest must be married before ordination; 
after it he may not marry, and if he loses his wife 
he must enter a monastic order.** 

^' H'm, there's something to be said for that, I 
daresay, as regards the external situation. With 
us, like so much else, it is all left to a man's in- 
dividual decision ; if he chooses to marry, well and 
good, but supposing he has chosen the celibate life 
as better suited to himself, his work, or his cir- 
cumstances, he cannot, without changing his post, 
enter any Order in which his position is acknowl- 
edged; he cannot go about proclaiming a private 
and personal matter — ^and if he did, who would 
believe him ? How many men one has seen start- 
ing on their career with the intention, if not the 
vow, who, on the first sufficient temptation, are 
convinced it was a mistake, and chuck it. Some 
men, no doubt, honestly believe the married state 
better for their character or their work or both. 
I don't — ^but that's neither here nor there. I don't 
think I should have wished to marry even if I 
had not had the peculiar circumstances that first 
led me to the decision, but am I to go through my 
life dodging — oh, but I say, you know, this sounds 
horrible, but I'm sure you know what I mean, 
though I talk like a blatant ass." 

" I suppose I do," said Anstacc, reluctant, 
" though for the credit of my sex I wish I didn't. 
I am afraid there is an order of women, especially 
in country parishes, who regard the curate as their 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 271 

lawful prey. I suppose some make useful parson- 
esses, but there seem to be a large percentage of 
failures, and it always seems a divided service, 
more or less." 

** Of course; either a man marries a penniless 
girl and takes a burden of responsibility on his 
back that must halve his usefulness, or, worse, he 
marries a woman with money and ties himeslf to 
the world with a cart-rope. No wonder the Ro- 
man missions are better worked than ours.'' 

" I think I agree with you, but surely it isn't the 
abstract question that is afflicting you? There is 
a concrete problem ? " 

"There is, indeed, worse luck I That's what 
I started to tell you about, only it is so horribly 
difficult. Fancy, I met an old lady just now, who 
stopped me to congratulate me on my approadiing 
marriage I " 

" Well, but that is not so very terrible, surely. 
All you had to do was to deny it, laugh at die ab- 
surdity of the rumour, and say you are not a 
marrying man." 

" It was useless; I said all that, and she shut 
one eye, tapped me on the arm with that gruesome 
painted black calico fan she brings to church, and 
said with a fat chuckle, ' Oh, you sly man I But 
I know all about it: the dear girl herself, when I 
taxed her with it, only blushed and said I was 
premature; I mustn't say a word about it yet. 
But I felt I must venture : such an old friend of you 
both as I am.' I don't know what I said except 



272 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

that she was under a total misapprehension, and 
then I got away. Ah, you're laughing," in an 
accent of keen and bitter reproach, for a ripple 
of amusement crossed Anstace's face against her 
wiU. 

" Fm not, really, not inwardly," she said, 
stretching out a deprecating hand ; ^* Fm interested 
and sympathising, but you must own there is a 
funny side to it," 

" I know," he said gloomily, " and that is just 
what makes it so squalid. I was a fool to get into 
the mess, and a worse fool to speak of it." 

" Don't say that," she answered gently, " and 
forgive me if I smiled. I do think that, advice 
apart, to talk out a perplexity with a friend often 
helps to disperse it." 

" After all, where's the use of talking? There's 
been too much of that already, and all the talking 
in the world won't unsay what has once been said. 
And what is to be done ? " 

" First of all suppose you light your pipe ; Fve 
always noticed that Englishmen talk more freely 
with half their mouths. Well, if you don't know 
who the girl is she was referring to, it is easy 
enough." 

" But 1 do," confessed Peter with a groan. 

" I suppose so; and for the matter of that, so 
do I. You named no names, but the painted 
calico fan gave her away." 

" I never thought of that. You'd have guessed 
any way I expect." 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 273 

"Most likely I should; the people are not so 
thick upon the ground here that one could be 
far out. Now do you mind my asking whether 
you can recollect anything that can have given 
colour to the idea? " 

" Upon my soul I can't; I am positive I never 
said a word to my knowledge that could be 
twisted into anything of the sort. It is true I saw 
her home from the last choir practice, but it was 
a very dark night and she was alone; I could do 
no less. I can't for the life of me remember ex- 
actly what we talked about, but I had an impres- 
sion it was chiefly of the tyrannies of old Lemuel 
Honeybun. I wish to goodness I could remember 
anything that might have lent itself to such an 
extraordinary hallucination." 

For a while Peter sucked at his pipe in silence 
while Anstace, balancing her spoon with great 
nicety upon her finger, weighed his difficulty in 
her own mind. She was sorry for him with a 
whimsical, half humorous sympathy; she liked 
him so much and felt deeply for the ever-present 
anxiety and trouble that overshadowed his life 
and spoilt his career, but her real compassion was 
for the woman whom she liked not at all, and 
whose conduct was in her eyes entirely reprehensi- 
ble. For after all it is a piteous thing, though 
the world has agreed to regard it as laughable, 
to see a woman, dependent on her own exertions, 
leading a little narrow, unsatisfying life, coming 
to the autumn of her days, and making futile 



274 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

struggles to obtain for herself the position which 
Nature bids her crave and then puts out of her 
reach. A married woman may break the Seventh 
Commandment, a coquette may break hearts, and 
either will find more mercy than the world shows 
to the unlucky spinster who throws her undesired 
self at a man's head. Yet the very scorn she pro- 
vokes, though she break no written law, proves 
that deep in fundamental nature there lies, still 
unrepealed, the unwritten law that forbids a 
woman to help herself in this matter. Anstace 
was conscious of a large pity for poor Miss Ella 
as she thought of her simperings and bridlings 
and her futile wiles. 

Peter was a patient soul, but at last he took his 
pipe from his mouth and broke silence. *^ Aren't 
you going to give me any advice? " he said. 

Anstace spoke slowly. " I will if you like, but 
it is not very easy to give in such a case, and I'm 
afraid the only bit I have won't be easy to take; 
it is just this, to do nothing at all." 

"Well, that is about the hardest thing you 
could have thought of. One wants to break 
through a net somehow, not to sit all tangled up. 
How can I go on at the Sunday School and the 
practices and all with this *thing glaring at 
me?" 

"What would you do? Have you thought 
of anything?" 

" Would it be a good thing, do you think, to 
speak to the elder sister and say I was sorry to find 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 275 

a false report had got about, and — and explain 
the position ? " 

Anstace shook her head. " It might land you 
in unthought-of difficulties. She is rather astute. 
Suppose she were to tell you you had broken her 
sister's heart, what would you do? " 

Peter groaned. " I don't think really " he 

began. 

*' Neither do I, but there is the possible asser- 
tion to be reckoned with. So long as you say and 
do nothing neither can they. Besides I think you 

should consider the dignity of Miss of the 

lady in question. It would be very humiliating to 
her to be definitely refused, however you explained 
it, but if nothing is said she will at length perforce 
come to the conclusion that nothing was meant, 
and so will her friends, Lady Huddersfield and 
Co." 

"They will all say I have treated her abom- 
inably." 

" Probably ; you must put up with that, and 
after all it is more likely she that will be laughed 
at rather than you that will be blamed." 

" I don't know that there is much comfort in 
that. Well, one thing I am determined: I must 
meet her in parish matters of course, but I won't 
go near Home Nest." 

" But indeed you must ; that is not what I mean 
at all ; on the contrary, if you don't you will upset 
the whole kettle of fish. What I meant was that 
you must go on exactly as you did before, ignore 



276 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

utterly all Lady Huddersfield's innuendoes as 
though you regarded them as the merest silly joke, 
and continue to be civil to the two sisters with 
strict impartiality." 

" You are pretty unsparing, I will say." 

" I knew you wouldn't like it; but in the first 
place you see, if you suddenly slight the poor 
thing, she will be hurt and humbled, which I am 
sure you would not wish, and then it gives open- 
ings for questions, and questions lead to explana- 
tions — ^the most dangerous things in the world." 

"And you don't think the course you recom- 
mend Is dangerous ? " 

Anstace looked at him keenly. " That depends 
on yourself: you know whether there is any dan- 
ger, and if you can trust your own resolution, 
which, if I understood you just now, amounts to a 



vow." 



" That is so, and though perhaps I ought not 
to say It, there is no real temptation in the matter. 
I was only thinking of awkwardnesses, situations 
that might arise." 

" Well, you will be on your guard now, and I 
believe a simple, straightforward intention will 
carry you through all right. Of course the easiest 
plan would have been to take flight for a little 
while, but I did not suggest it, as I imagine you 
could not easily get away." 

" Impossible. I have not had a holiday for 
three years, and doubt sometimes if I ever shall 
again." 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 277 

" You have taken my advice so meekly I won- 
der if you would mind a little more? In your an- 
noyance at having had the poor thing thrust upon 
you, do not trample on her. You men can be won- 
derfully cruel to a woman you don't want." 

She had risen and was holding out her hand. 
The talk had lasted long, and the pony would be 
round directly. He wrung the hand with fervour. 

" I wonder if there is another woman in the 
world," he said, " to whom one could go in this 
sort of difficulty and get help." 

She smiled. ^'You are good to take it so; I 
was afraid it was a case of Abana and Pharpar." 



VII 

Rarely, rarely was the silence at Binamy broken 
by strange voices; Its two inhabitants went their 
mute way, wrapped, the one in his dreams, the 
other in his brooding memories; Peter White- 
thorne was but an infrequent visitor, coming and 
going by the little postern in the cloister, and 
Anstace sometimes thought that but for her oc- 
casional task of reading aloud, she should soon 
forget the sound of her own voice. It was that, as 
much as its old-world charm and strange beauty, 
that made it seem to her like a place under en- 
chantment, not belonging to the actual living 
world. Through all the summer days its master 
went nowhere, entertained no guests. So it was 
with a sensation of astonishment, almost of the 
breaking of dreams, that she heard voices, women's 
voices, in the room where luncheon was served, 
as her hand was on the door. She almost drew 
back, but Mn Clyne's quick ear detected her 
approach. 

" Is that you, Mrs. Claude ? Come and let me 
present you to my cousin, Mrs. Pococke: Cousin 
Felicia, this is Mrs. Claude, who is good enough 
to take charge of my library." 

If Anstace had known beforehand she was to 

278 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 279 

encounter visitors, she might almost have felt shy 
after her long exile, but after all the visitors were 
neither numerous nor formidable. Two ladles, 
neither of them young, the elder, who might be 
about sixty, tall and well-dressed, with an air best 
described by the old-fashioned word, elegant, 
which, since our transatlantic neighbours have put 
to such strange uses, we have suffered to fall out 
of our vocabulary, though we have nothing with 
quite the same significance. The other seemed in 
every way subordinate, and Anstace soon recog- 
nised in her the companion, apparently a poor 
relation provided for by being made useful. 

The interchange of a very few sentences sufficed 
to put her quite en rapport with Mrs. Pococke. 
Her world was Mrs. Pococke's world, and they 
spoke the same language like two compatriots 
meeting on some foreign soil; but Anstace soon 
found the conversation needed all her adroitness 
to guide it into safe channels and keep her little 
barque of anonymity from splitting on the rock 
of mutual friends. The matter had been easy 
enough with Mr. Clyne, who had no friends, or 
at least had not cared to keep them up, but Mrs. 
Pococke with no evil intent was evidently bent on 
discovering whom Anstace knew, where she had 
lived, why she was down here in such a secluded 
corner of the world, engaged on what seemed to 
the visitor so unsuitable an occupation for a young 
woman. 

Very skilfully Anstace baffled and evaded lead- 



28o THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

ing questions, rather enjoying the playing of a 
difficult game, as It were. Once or twice she 
caught an amused expression on the face of her 
employer, as though he were watching the play 
and secretly applauding an adroit move on her 
part. She was stimulated, too, by the sense that 
in spite of this verbal encounter she was making a 
pleasant impression upon her opponent, whom on 
her side she was inclined to like. She felt drawn 
to this soft-voiced, gentle-mannered elderly lady, 
and hardly resented a curiosity she felt to be per- 
fectly natural. 

It was certainly ^n unusually lively meal for 
Binamy, but Anstace remembered she was not 
there on the footing of an invited guest, so when 
they rose from the table and went into the great 
hall which was used as a kind of lounge or draw- 
ing-rooms, she prepared to withdraw to her own 
domain. Mrs. Pococke held out her hand and 
expressed a hope of future meetings. 

*^ I think," she added, with a glance at Mr. 
Clyne, " that there are some very interesting curi- 
osities in the library; I am sure Miss Bilsby would 
like to see them if you would be so good." 

" I shall be delighted." 

And Miss Bilsby, who did not know a codex 
from a breviary nor a Roman coin from a Jubilee 
florin, went off meekly with Mrs. Claude at a 
sign from her patroness. 

"Do not forget," said Mrs. Pococke, "that 
the motor will be round at three ; we have a long 



THE GOLDEN BOWt 281 

drive." Then she ti^rned to her cousin. " I shall 
be glad of a little chat with you, dear Eldred. 
May I take your arm? and shall we go into the 
Blue Room? the hall is a little too public." 

By and bye, after a little disjointed talk on 
family matters, and the usual exhortations on the 
evil of recluse habits which were an inevitable 
feature of her annual visit to Binamy, Mrd. Po- 
cocke made a rush at the subject on her mind: 
she was obviously not quite at ease, and rear- 
ranged the lace with which her bonnet was tied 
with fluttering fingers. 

" Do tell me, who is this Mrs. Claude?" she 
said with a little nervous laugh. 

** She is a lady of considerable cultivation who 
came to reside in this neighbourhood about a year 
ago, and wishing for some employment, has un- 
dertaken the post of my librarian and secretary. 
She suits me admirably." 

" A widow, I suppose? " 

" Presumably." 

" But who are her relations ? " 

" I have not an idea." 

^^ But, dear cousin, do you mean you engaged 
her knowing nothing of her antecedents? " 

" I don't know what her antecedents had to do 
with the post I offered her. My ear told me she 
is a gentlewoman, a woman of good sense, and 
competent to read Greek in the way I like to hear 
it read. Beyond that I made no inquiry nor 
wished to make any." 



282 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 



CC 



I have no doubt I could find out for you; she 
admitted she knew the Dubarry Smiths." 

" I beg you will do nothing of the kind. What 
does it matter ? " 

" But my dear Eldred — you must forgive me ; 
I am sure I don't wish to interfere in your ar- 
rangements — ^indeed I thought her charming, but 
for that very reason, for her own sake, do you 
think it is quite wise to have a beautiful young 
woman as secretary in this — ^this masculine house- 
hold?" 

" Is she beautiful ? I was not aware of it ; I 
believe they told me she was grey-haired — ^though 
I should not make that a sine qua non in a secre- 
tary." 

" Grey-haired I Nonsense. That lovely white 
hair has nothing to do with age, and with her 
exquisite complexion only gives her the look of 
an old miniature." 

" Well, such things, as you know, are unfortu- 
nately lost upon me." 

'^ Oh, you poor dear! I am sorry. I ought not 
to have put it that way. But after all you know 
you are not by any means an old man, and with 
your wealth and this fine old place, in these 
days " 

" In these days," he broke in grimly, " when 
they say husbands are scarce, you think these ad- 
vantages might have a solid value even set off by 
the undeniable drawbacks. You may make your 
mind quite easy. Cousin Felicia; Mrs. Claude has 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 283 

not the remotest idea of setting her cap at me ; she 
regards me as an unlucky beggar It is her duty to 
be kind to." 

^* I wish I had not said anything," said Mrs. 
Pococke plaintively. " I am sure I never meant 
to insinuate Only you must admit the posi- 
tion is a little peculiar, and the world is very cen- 
sorious." 

" The world has very little to do with us here 
in the Golden Bowl." 

" Not the great world, to be sure ; but there are 
always the servants. I suppose you would not 
like me to exert myself to find something more 
suitable for Mrs. Claude, since no doubt you take 
a kindly interest in her, in case you should see it 
wise to make other arrangements ? " 

**No, I thank you. If I should make other 
arrangements I will see to that myself. You will 
take a cup of coffee before the motor comes round? 
I think I hear an ominous snorting on the drive." 

As the sound of the departing guests died away 
down the avenue, he turned back into the hall 
humming the air of an old song to himself. 

^^H'm, a beautiful woman, is she? I might 
have known it." He went on with the old song, 
only filling in the words to one line : 

*'0h she it like a melody 
That's tweetly played in tune.**^ 

Outwardly life at Binamy went on its way as be- 
fore, only Anstace was dimly conscious of a subtle 



284 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

change in its master; she was less often called 
upon for personal service, either reading or 
writing was chiefly done by the Father, so the 
catalogue got on apace; but though she was less 
with liim he seemed more alive to her presence 
when she was there, more thoughtful for her 
when she was elsewhere, less inclined in fact to 
treat her like part of the library furniture. 
Whether he liked her better or liked her less she 
could not feel sure, but when one day after lunch, 
when she had scarcely seen him for a week, he 
asked her to give him her arm to the Blue Room, 
as his study was called, her mind flew to the con- 
clusion that he had wearied of her service and 
was about to dismiss her. Well, if so, it was 
something to be thankful for that she was not 
dependent on her work for her daily bread, but 
she knew she should miss it horribly. 

She was confirmed in her view by the delibera- 
tion with which he seated himself in his great 
chair, and the ceremony with which he begged 
her to be seated. 

She, however, preferred to remain standing in 
the embrasure of one of the deep-set windows. 
He was evidently very nervous, for he possessed 
himself of a paper-knife which he kept drawing 
through his hand, a trick most unlike him, for he 
had early mastered the blind man's faculty for sit- 
ting passive and motionless. His nervousness 
communicated itself to her. If she were ordered 
for execution, she preferred it were done quickly. 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 285 

" You had something to say to me ? " she said 
with a slight impatience. 

** I have, and I hardly know how to begin. I 
am not used to dealing with women : I am afraid 
lest I offend you." 

^^Oh, please don't trouble about that; I sup- 
pose I can guess what you want to say." 

He looked a little astonished and taken aback, 
and she went on rapidly: 

^^ You know I have been thinking the same thing 
myself. Although I have so enjoyed my work 
here, I know quite well I am not competent for 
the task I so rashly undertook, and I feel I ought 
to resign it." 

" You want to give it up? to leave me? " 

" Isn't that what you wish? " 

" Heaven forbid I On the contra];y, I want you 
to stay here altogether: I can't do without you. 
Mrs. Claude, will you marry me ? " 

Anstace was thunderstruck; that this was in 
his mind had never remotely occurred to her; she 
had hardly even realised that he liked her, and to 
be thus abruptly proposed to without the slight- 
est preliminary courtship was enough to stagger 
any woman. Moreover, to her own conscious- 
ness she was as much married to her vanished, 
phantom husband as any wife living under her 
husband's roof. That anyone could so misunder- 
stand her position wounded, affronted, frightened 
her. There was St moment of tense silence, be- 
wildered silence on her part; she could hardly 



286 TEIE BRIDAL OE ANSTACE 

find words to repel a proposal that seemed to her 
monstrous. Still, if he had really thought her 

husband was dead She controlled herself to 

speak calmly. 

" You are mistaken ; I am not a widow;*' 

** So I understand ; but surely such a marriage 
as yours cannot be regarded as binding; a mere 
form which a stroke of the pen would annul. No 
law could ** 

**I don't care what the law of the land may 
say, the Church says that vows taken under her 
sanction may not be broken. Even if he repudi- 
ate me, I am Basil's ^" She broke oflF abruptly, 

then resumed, " I am a wife in the sight of God." 

She was moving quickly away, as he could tell 
by the rustle of her skirt. 

**Stay," he cried; *^do not misunderstand me. 
We cannot break off such a conversation like 

this Ah, how helpless I ami I cannot see 

your face, but the sound of your voice tells me 
you are angry." 

Too angry, too startled she was, to weigh 
things justly. 

" I see I ought never to have come here," she 
said; ** I saw your cousin thought my position 
odd, but I never guessed that in taking up this 
work I was exposing myself to insult." 

He flushed darkly. *' Am I then so repulsive, 
so set apart by my misfortune that the offer to 
share my home and the shelter of my name should 
be an insult? " 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 287 

^'You know it is not that," she cried passion- 
ately; " and it is ungenerous of you to appeal to 
it But in such a position as mine anyone who 
approaches me as though I were an unmarried 
woman, insults me." 

** Am I mistaken, I wonder? Are you not the 
bride who was so cruelly forsaken on the very 
steps of the Altar by some rascally Greek?" 

She flashed round on him. " How dare you 
speak so of my husband I He may be dead: he 
may be mad; sometimes I fancy he must be. 
There is some explanation, I know." 

"You have a marvellous faith. So you will 
hold to this shadow ? " 

" TiU death," she said. 

She was hurrying away, but paused suddenly: 
"Why, how did you know? I thought no one 
here guessed who I was or knew my story." 

" Don't you know in these days there is noth- 
ing hid. When Peter Whitethome found you 
here and told me you were the very person for 
whom he sought the post months back, we could 
not but put two and two together. The time of 
your arrival so soon after the singular case re- 
ported in the papers, your being married and not 
married, Greek and not Greek, speaking the lan- 
guage yet knowing so little of it, your belonging 
to that Communion yet so newly, all pointed one 
way. It was easy to see you wished your secret 
respected, so except on that occasion we never 
named it. I am distressed you should have taken 



288 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

this as you have. When the idea that your posi- 
tion here might be injurious to you was brought 
home to me, I thought you might not be unwilling 
to accept the shelter of an honourable name 
Well, there's an end of that." 

" Yes ; there is an end, there must be. I am 
sorry, I did not mean to be ungrateful, but you 
don't understand." 

" No, I can't understand." 

She went hurriedly back to the library and 
mounted trembling to the little turret chamber to 
put on her hat and habit for the last time, and to 
collect the little personal possessions she was in 
the habit of leaving in her special bureau. She 
could have shed tears over her orderly little note- 
books, as she tied them up and put them in array 
in the pigeon holes in readiness for her successor, 
but that her mood was too tense for tears. She 
felt how vain her seven months' work had been; 
no one else, she was sure, would carry it on in just 
her way; most likely the next librarian would 
throw aside her little womanish schemes of work 
with the contempt of the professional for the 
amateur. She would have liked to rush back to 
Mount Misery in hot hurry, but she would not 
leave her domain in disorder, and in Binamy she 
never meant to set foot again. For the last time 
she would ride Jerry homewards, and then she 
would send him back to his own stable. 

Why, oh why, had Mr. Clyne done this stupid 
and idiotic thing, and cut her adrift from her 



THE GOLDEN BOWL 289 

moorings, from the work that filled her vacant 
days, from the place round which little rootlets 
and tendrils were just beginning to twine? For 
as she cooled, jogging soberly along the Priest's 
Way, as Jerry picked his steps between the stones, 
she realised that it was a stupidness, a blunder 
rather than a wanton insult Mr. Clyne had done 
hen 



BOOK V 



THE COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 



A YEAR had rounded itself to completeness since 
Anstace had made her way to St. Rock's, and 
through it slowly she had been building up for 
herself a new existence: little by little she had 
found, if not content, at least tranquillity. She 
had learned the value of exchanging the incessant 
fret, the never-ending round of town life for the 
calm ordered sequence of siunmer and autunuit 
haytime and harvest in the country, the shut-in 
life of streets for the broad open spaces of sea 
and sky. More, she had discovered the precious- 
ness of three things, formerly unknown to her, 
namely, reading, work, and friendship. Sur- 
rounded with friendly acquaintance as her youth 
had been, she had never before experienced any- 
thing like the intimate intercourse and comrade- 
ship she had enjoyed with Peter Whitethome, 
with Father lanstone, latterly with Mr. Clyne, 
and in different manner and degree with Abigail 
and with Brenda. Though she scarcely acknowl- 
edged it, yet she had felt that her life, lived imder 
a shadow as it must be, still held certain elements 
of happiness. And now she was like one who 
after climbing up out of a weltering sea to the 

291 



292 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

refuge of a little island, finds himself washed back 
into the waves once more. 

Deprived of the solace of her work and the 
interests it brought along with it, she grew list- 
less and prone to brooding. As the lengthening 
days of silence stretched themselves out, and hope 
grew less and less, her trouble must needs increase. 

She had puzzled herself how she should ex- 
plain to Peter the sudden cessation of her engage- 
ment at Binamy, but she need not have troubled; 
no occasion for any explanation arose. Their 
most frequent meeting-ground had been the library, 
but not only were those encounters at an end, 
but Peter found no excuse to call at Mount 
Misery or visited old Hiram Chinchen when she 
was likely to be out, nay, even meeting her one 
day in the village, he passed her with a bow. An- 
stace accepted it as part of the general blankness 
and failure of things, but none the less it wounded 
her. Doubtless she had gone too far with her 
advice the other day. It is a commodity people 
often ask for, but seldom care to take; or it 
might be that he had since been wrought upon by 
the sentimentality of Miss Ella, and be regretting 
the confidence he had reposed in Mrs. Claude as 
to his intentions. Nothing is so estranging as a 
confidence repented of. Yet this theory hardly 
commended itself to her judgment; Peter was 
surely not one of those who can explain themselves 
out of the obligations of a vow ; she did not really 
think he would marry Miss Ella nor anyone else. 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 293 

Possibly he had heard of her abrupt departure 
from Binamy, and disapproved of her behaviour, 
and the sting of it was that in cool moments she 
disapproved of it herself; she could not but ac- 
knowledge that she had treated Mr. Clyne with 
rank ingratitude. In offering his hand to a name- 
less woman in so anomalous a position, he had 
surely done a generous, even a quixotic thing, and 
deserved better of her than to be accused of in- 
sulting her. Besides how kind and considerate 
he had been in all their relations of employer and 
employed: his ogreishness was, as she had long 
ago found, the veriest pasteboard mask. 

Yet though she acknowledged all this, indigna- 
tion rose and swamped all her reasonableness 
when she thought how grossly he had misunder- 
stood her position in proposing to her, how wan- 
tonly he had made her post at Binamy untenable. 
She assured herself she did well to be angry, and 
of course she had the right to refuse and with- 
draw herself; still she knew she might have done 
it courteously. She alternately vexed herself with 
reproach and justified herself by heaping blame 
on him ; while all the while she pitied his helpless- 
ness and loneliness, and wearied for her work. 

It was not until this had happened that she 
realised how much of late she had leaned on 
Peter; and Peter, too, had failed her. She could 
say nothing, ask nothing, but she felt that the 
misery of last winter, out of which she had so 
toilfuUy climbed, was closing in on her once more. 



294 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

She bethought her that In these last occupied 
months she had a little neglected her earliest 
friend, so one day she took her way to St. Rock's 
to see if Brenda had any need of her company or 
her services. Mrs. Bartlemy received her with 
warmth as always, but neither here was there any 
need of her, for there was company at the Coast- 
guard Station ; a cousin, a pert little cockney miss 
out of an East London shop, was on a visit, with 
her young man, a person in the ship-chandlery 
line. The " adopted sister " felt herself a little 
out of the picture, and .pleaded the necessity of 
getting back early these short winter days when 
pressed to stay to tea. 

She missed her beloved Jerry; he was far better 
company than the bicycle, and after many experi- 
ences of punctures on lone quarry roads she had 
almost given it up except for going inland by the 
high roads, and over the quarry hills usually 
travelled a-foot. In spite of her troubles she 
had grown strong in the free open-air life she led, 
and was now a fair walker. 

The day was All-Hallows summer, and for a 
brief spell the winds that swept so often over the 
quarry heights were taking holiday, sparing for 
a while the glowing mantle of ruby leaves that so 
richly clad the inland gable of Mount Misery, like 
a sunset on its old grey walls. For an hour or so 
Anstace rambled aimlessly, then it occurred to her 
that it would fill up a little of her vacant idle time 
pleasantly if she could find old Lemuel Honeybun 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 295 

and have a little music with him on the church 
organ : it would gratify the old man, too ; he had 
been rather hurt of late that practices had been so 
few, but Binamy had absorbed most of her day- 
light hours. So instead of taking the direct way 
home, she turned her steps through the village. 
She had her journey in vain, however; the door of 
the little shanty was locked when she got there, 
and " back at six '* was scrawled across it with a 
bit of white chalk : no doubt Lemuel, who had no 
errand boy, was carrying home an order. 

As she slowly mounted the village street, she 
saw the old Vicar shuffling along a little way ahead 
of her with a furtive air, and it seemed to her his 
uncertain steps were trending in the direction of 
The Last Out; she quickened her pace and soon 
overtook him. 

" Why, Mr. Whltethome," she said, " what a 
long time it is since I have seen you. Do you 
know I was just coming to the Vicarage. Do you 
remember promising to lend me Gibbon when I 
should have time to read it? I have much more 
leisure now, for I have given up my work at 
Binamy, and I should be so glad if I might fetch 
the first volume." 

The poor old gentleman was always very po- 
lite. He looked rather wistfully up and down the 
road, evidently meditating an excuse of some 
pastoral visit, then he gave in. '^ To be sure, to 
be sure ; come in with me now and we will find the 
book : I was just on my way home." 



296 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" Moreover," she pursued, emboldened by her 
success, *' I was so hoping you might be in, for I 
was sure if you were you would give me a cup of 
tea, and I have been all out to St. Rock's and am 
quite tired; it is a good pull from here on to 
Mount Misery." 

To appeal to his kindly and hospitable instincts 
was to touch the right chord, and the old Vicar 
led the way with eager politeness. Anstace felt 
pretty sure his son must be well out of the way, 
either in a distant part of the parish or at Stonedge 
for some clerical function, or the old man would 
never have attempted to sneak off to The Last 
Out, so she settled down by the tea-table and 
took o£f her gloves like one prepared to make a 
long stay, and put forth all her powers to keep her 
host interested and amused. She could see by the 
restless eye and trembling hand that the old crav- 
ing was upon him, and whatever Peter might 
think of her boldness in thrusting a possibly un- 
welcome visit, she was resolved she would not 
loose her prey till she could leave him safely. The 
fact that the young housemaid had brought in 
the tea showed that Martha, too, was out of the 
way. 

After two or three cups of strong tea the old 
gentleman got a little better, a little more con- 
tented and less nervous, and Anstace began to 
wonder if he might not safely be left to himself, 
for it was getting very dark, when the sound of 
Peter's key in the lodk promised to release her» 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 297 

« 

and she began putting on her gloves. She was 
just rising from the table as he came in. 

" I have been pouring out tea for Mr. White- 
thome,'' she said; ''his hand is rather shaky to- 
day, but now I will give up my place to you, for I 
ought to have been on my homeward road long 
ago. 

She spoke easily as though they had met but 
yesterday, but to her surprise, for he was usually 
so simple, his outworn shyness seemed to have 
come on him again ; he went red and white and 
stammered out some lame and quite unneeded 
apology for his absence. But he did not ask her 
to stay. 

'' I am afraid it was cool of me to invite myself 
to tea,'* she said, as he came with her to the door, 
" but I overtook the Vicar by himself just at the 
end of the village, and I thought — it was late — 
he had better come home." 

Peter bit his lip. '' I imderstand : thank you 
a thousand times. I ought never to be out of the 
way ; but how then should the work be done ? " 
He sighed and abruptly held out his hand. 

'' Whatever Peter has against me he isn't going 
to let me know it," said Anstace as she stepped out 
Into the darkness. 

She felt very little resentment at his sudden 
desertion of her; only a great ruth for the heavy 
burden he had to carry. No doubt, mind and heart 
were too full of his own cares to go on for long 
concerning himself for the troubles of one who 



298 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

did not really belong to his flock. Probably he felt 
that once she was fairly provided with an occupa- 
tion he might leave her to stand on her own feet, 
and also might feel annoyed with her for losing 
it. Nevertheless it seemed to her hard that she 
should lose both her friends at once, and be left 
to climb her solitary road alone. She and Peter 
had grown to be such good friends, to understand 
each other so well — or so she had fancied — ^she 
had thought she could count on him so surely, 
but there was some incalculable element she could 
not allow for. The little shelter of solace in work 
and friendship she had been slowly building up 
out of the ruins of her life was all blown to the 
four winds again. She had no heart to begin 
another, nor yet, as it seemed, anything to begin 
with, and she was desperately lonely. 

But it was not his own cares that caused Peter 
to sigh so heavily as he got out the backgammon 
board and tried to interest his father in a game. 
''What a brute she must think me,'* he said to 
himself; '' and I can't possibly explain. I hate to 
have her go home alone, too; it is hardly safe 
amongst all those quarry holes." 

The barrier which had arisen between him and 
Mrs. Claude had a twofold origin, and neither of 
the outward nor the inward difficulty could he 
speak; he must accept misunderstanding rather. 
The suggestions which are sure sooner or later to 
imperil a friendship between a man and a woman 
who are both young were already threatening his 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 299 

Intercourse with Anstace, and the position was 
such that he saw no way to put an end to them. 

It is easy to see how the mischief arose : he had 
tried scrupulously to follow Mrs. Claude's advice 
in his perplexity at the Home Nest, but Miss Ella 
had gone too far in allowing the village to suppose 
her engaged to the curate, and could not with dig- 
nity accept the failure of her little ruse. With 
unerring instinct she pounced upon the " grass- 
widow," as they termed Anstace, as the cause of 
her discomfiture, and she and Lady Huddersfield 
between them concocted many little tales. No 
tongue is more bitter than that of a woman slighted, 
and the elder lady simply delighted in gossip for 
gossip's sake, having little else to entertain her. 

" Fancy," — the comments ran — " that poor 
Mr. Clyne having been obliged, in self-defence, to 
dismiss his secretary. Very silly of him to engage 
a young woman — and one with a ' past,' too." 

'* My dear, she must have been very bare-faced 
for him to have done it. I should have thought 
that once let a clever woman get her foot into 
Binamy, she would not so easily take it out again." 

"Oh, but the Squire is quite a woman-hater." 

" Don't you know that is just the sort that are 
easiest made fools of?" 

Then it was suggested that Mrs. Claude was 
always "after" Mr. Peter: Becky had seen 
through her from the first, and so forth. How all 
this reached Peter would be a problem, but that 
there is always someone ready to convey smoking 



300 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

broth to the person for whom it Is brewed The 
portion of village gossip referring to BInamy was, 
of course, retailed at length ; his indignant contra- 
dictions only lending point to the hints and innu- 
endoes which conveyed the remainder. 

A sudden overwhelming perception of what the 
remedy might have been had he been a free man 
and she a free woman came upon him, and made 
him realise with a sensation as of a door slammed 
in his face the wisdom for his own sake, as well 
as for her name, of refraining for the present from 
the pleasant, helpful friendship In which hitherto 
both had found so much solace. Not in vain had 
Peter schooled himself in self-discipline through 
all the early passionate years of youth, since he had 
perceived the desirableness of accepting the voca- 
tion of the solitary. He had himself well In hand ; 
it was just one of the might-have-beens that lie 
o£f the road, but not out of sight of so many, both 
of those who are mismated, and of those who are 
treading the solitary path. He could trust himself, 
but it was well for a time he should walk warily. 



II 

The brief eleven days that lie between All Hal- 
lows and St Martin were soon told, days when the 
winds are held in leash after the ravings of the 
equinox, gathering strength for the winter gales. 
Anstace was hardly sorry when the change came ; 
under those tranquil, grey skies, in the brooding 
calm, she seemed to realise her utter loneliness and 
uselessness more acutely. The wind did not 
frighten her now as it used when first she came, 
not even when through it she could hear the long 
wailing scream, and pressing her face against the 
dark window in the shelter of the red curtain, saw 
the flaming torch sweep across the hills. 

One night, when gusts of rain and sleet came on 
the wings of the wind and lashed her window, the 
sounds seemed more weird than customary : under- 
neath the shrill phantom shriek came the sound of 
bells, of church bells rising and falling, now lost, 
now coming loud again, and when they sank she 
could fancy the piteous sound of a child crying, a 
lost child who begged for shelter. She could 
hardly bear it, though she knew it must be fancy. 
She crept behind the curtain to try and see out into 
the blackness of the night undazzled by the re- 
flection of her own lamp. 

Ahl What was that? Something white was 
fluttering against her window, beating as with tiny 
hands that besought her to let it in. What was 

301 



302 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

it? The white soul of the little child whose sob- 
bing cry had haunted her? She undid the hasp and 
tried to open the window a little way, but It flew 
wide; something dashed fluttering into her face 
and fell at her feet, and behind it burst in all the 
fiends of tempest ; the curtains were torn from her 
grasp and went slapping against the ceiling, the 
lamp was extinguished in a moment, the pictures 
swung out from the wall and back again with a 
deafening clatter, and through all the din the 
something she had let in went flapping about, now 
on the ground almost under foot, now brushing 
past her, now soaring over her head. Luckily for 
her, for she was so bewildered she hardly knew 
how to find the handle, the storm burst the door, 
and by the light in the passage she ran out and 
downstairs, calling on Abigail and Mn Angel to 
come and help her. 

" It isn't wise to open your window on such a 
night, ma'am," said Christopher Angel, as with 
some difficulty he got the window to again and 
hasped it. 

^' I know, but I couldn't help it ; something 
cried so to be let in. What can it be ? Ah, there 
it is," as a white something flew against the now 
closed window as though as anxious to get out as 
it had been before to get in. 

" Why, it is a gull, surely," said Abigail, arriv- 
ing on the scene with a lighted lamp. 

" No, mother," said Christopher, when pres- 
ently he had prisoned it in his broad hand; '' it is 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 303 

a pigeon, a poor little carrier pigeon. It seems 
hurt a bit ; I think its wing must be broken ; it flies 
all askew/' 

Anstace went down to finish her evening in com- 
pany in the warm, sheltered kitchen, and fed her 
foundling with bread and milk while Mr. Angel 
devised a nest for it in a big potato basket with a 
net tied over it to prevent its injuring itself further. 
It ceased its agitated flutterings presently and 
looked up at Anstace as if it knew her for its 
friend, with wondering round eyes edged with 
crimson. 

Reading aloud to-night was out of the question ; 
they had to raise their voices to make each other 
hear ordinary talk. Anstace appealed to Mr. An- 
gel to explain some of the weird noises that mingled 
with the storm. 

" They are so much more distinct in my room," 
she said, ^* than they are here, where the buttress 
stands out and seems to break them, but still, even 
here I can detect bells every now and then, rising 
and falling, just as Tennyson describes them ; they 
seem to 

"Swell out and fail, at if a door 
Were shut between me and the sound. 

Is there any legend about them ? " 

'^ There's legends about most things here, Mrs. 
Claude. The story goes that the bells were being 
brought from some place over-seas for the church 
at Pucksdown Abbey ; they were to be there in time 
for Christmas, to ring in the Nativity, but the 



304 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

wreckers sighted the vessel that was bringing 
them, and, fancying she was a French ship with a 
cargo of brandy, tempted her in by a false light 
on the ledge just below St. Rock's; she went to 
pieces and the bells went to the bottom. Some say 
they ring to warn ships off the ledge, and others 
think they only foretell a wreck. It seems likely 
that in certain winds and tides, when the sea swells 
high enough to reach the old quarry holes just 
above, that the booming in the hollow places 
sounds like the great bells." 

^^And the piteous crying I heard, like a little 
child sobbing, what of that? It certainly wasn't 
the bird, for no pigeon or dove utters a sound like 
that." 

He shook his head. " I never heard tell of any 
child, unless it may be one of the lost souls off the 
Cockpit. You may have noticed a half-ruined 
house about midway between here and Binamy, 
but much nearer to the sea than we are ; just by that 
hollow in the cliff you said put you in mind of an 
old amphitheatre, where they used to have the 
cock-fighting about a hundred years ago ? " 

" To be sure. It must have been a fine place 
in its day." 

"Aye, and they were fine folk it belonged to; 
more fine than kind. They were having a ball 
there one Christmas night, and a ship was driven 
ashore in the cove below. They could hear the 
cries of the poor souls struggling in the water, but 
they only bade the fiddlers play the louder. In the 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 305 

morning the bodies were washed up, twenty-three 
of them ; I never heard tell whether there were any 
children, but like enough there were." 

" What a horrible story I I suppose a judgment 
fell upon them in the ruin ^of their house ? '' 

" Aye, and on all those that were dancing there 
that night: it was said that not one of the guests 
died in their beds. The family themselves came to 
ruin and disgrace in no great while ; there^s not one 
of the name remaining: the last died in Stonedge 
workhouse some fifty years back. I've heard my 
father tell of it.** 

They sat late, for it was useless to think of 
sleeping while the storm wailed round the house ; 
it was better to draw closer round the chinmey 
comer and pile on fresh logs. Presently another 
sound was added, the booming of guns told of 
some ship in trouble, though it was hard to tell 
what sounds were real and what were fancied. 
Christopher Angel struggled out in his sou'wester 
towards the cliff, but could make out nothing sea- 
ward, while from the other side of the long head- 
land of St. Rock a rocket shot up into the sky, so 
evidently the coastguard were alert and doing all 
that could be done. 

When he came in Abigail built up the fire again 
and mulled some elder wine, and it was not till the 
small hours that the wuther abated and the three 
house-mates separated. When Anstace went to 
bed she took her bird with her and put the basket 
on a chair beside her. 



m 

Anstace slept late and was still sleeping when 
at eight o'clock Abigail appeared at her bedside 
with a cup of tea and the information that Bar- 
tlemy was below, asking to speak to her. 

" Is anything the matter with his wife? Did 
he say she was ill? " cried Anstace, springing out 
of bed without waiting to drink her tea, and pro- 
ceeding to roll up her hair in a loose rapid knot. 

''I don't think so; he didn't say so, but there 
was a wreck last night just the other side of St. 
Rock's Head, and it seems some of the poor folk 
who couldn't speak English have been taken to 
their house. They were all saved, I believe; he 
was just telling Mr. Angel about it when I came 
off up to you, for the man seemed in a hurry." 

So Anstace thrust her feet into some Turkish 
slippers, threw a kimono about her, and ran down. 

" No, there was no need for the lifeboat," Bar- 
tlemy was just saying, as she reached the hall; 
" there were not many passengers, luckily, and 
they was all got off as easy as possible in the 
breeches. She come in so near the cliff that it was 
a mere nothing to swing 'em over, and all but this 
poor soul come in turn as quiet as lambs; but she 
lost her head and screeched and struggled with the 
man that was trying to put her in — scratched his 

306 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 307 

face a good un, she did, too — I don't know whether 
that made him let go, but anyway she slipped out 
of his hands just as a big sea come, lost her foot- 
ing, and down she went. We got her out without 
much trouble, but not till she was knocked about 
a bit on the rocks and broke her ankle. The doc- 
tor thinks that is the worst damage, though she is 
bruised and a little cut, but she won't be able to 
be moved yet a while, and my wife — ^ah, good 
morning, Mrs. Claude, you'll forgive my disturb- 
ing you so early. You heard what's happened last 
night, and Brenda has got company and don't 
hardly know what to do with them. We can none 
of us understand what they say; it don't seem to 
be French, even, and when I come away the lady 
appeared to be swearing at Mrs. Clibbet in any 
lingo she could lay her tongue to. Brenda thought 
perhaps you'd come over presently and see what 
you could make of them. The child is a pretty 
little chap, about three years old, I should think. 
He chatters away very funny, and we can't make 
out a word." 

''I'll come as soon as I can get ready. Was the 
child hurt?" 

'' Not he : he come over as good as gold in the 
lap of the first woman we got ashore : his mother 
never troubled her head about him." 

" Are they the only ones at your house ? " 

" Yes, the only ones that can't go on. I left the 
rest at breakfast, and we have wired to Stonedge 
for a brake to take the lot to the train; so I'll be 



308 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

getting back to see them off, and Fll tell Brenda 
you'll come when you can." 

Anstace made all haste, and when presently she 
arrived she met the brake just turning out of the 
gate that led to St. Rock's, crowded with a motley 
crew, clad in any miscellaneous garments they had 
been able to borrow. The seamen had walked on. 
She was rather sorry to have missed the oppor- 
tunity of questioning the captain about the stranger 
who had been thrown on the hospitality of the 
Bartlemys. 

Brenda, looking very frail and wan after her 
disturbed and exciting night, stretched out both 
hands when she saw her. 

*^ Oh, I am so glad you have come ; it is so good 
of you. I believe that poor thing upstairs is delir- 
ious, and I can't get Mrs. Clibbet to go near her : 
she says she never was so * be-called ' in her life, 
and it is so silly of her to mind, because she can't 
understand a word, so it can't matter. She was 
not half so angry when the lady threw a glass of 
whipped egg in her face 1 What is to be done ? I 
do hope she won't throw anything in yours; you 
must call Toby if she does." 

" Oh, I'll look after her; don't you worry. Can't 
I do anything for you before I go up, you poor, 
little dear? " 

*'No, I don't want anjrthing, thanks; Toby 
gave me my breakfast before he went out. Ah, 
there she is knocking: your old room, you 
know." 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 309 

Anstace ran upstairs and entered the little white- 
washed room which had been her first refuge. On 
the bed in the comer, which she had so long re- 
garded as hers, lay a girl who did not look much 
more than twenty^ flushed and dishevelled, the neck 
of her night-dress undone, her curly, dark hair 
thrown in a tangled mass over the pillow. A band- 
age crossed one temple, and her cheek was bruised. 
She was moaning, fretting, muttering, as she tossed 
incessantly from side to side. Were Anstace*s own 
wits wandering, or did she really hear the word 
Thalassa, Thalassa, repeated several times, with 
shuddering horror? No, it was true, for there 
were other words she recognised. Her own ac- 
quaintance with Romaic as spoken by the average 
Levantine was but slender; the dialect spoken in 
the Islands, and used by Basil when he did not 
speak French or English, was much nearer to the 
written Greek, but she mustered words enough to 
say, " You rapped? I am come to see if I can do 
anything for you. Don't you want something to 
drink? " 

For a moment the restless dark eyes were fixed 
on her with knitted brows, as seeking to recall 
straying wits, then the invalid said, in very good 
French, " Where am I? Who are you? " 

"You are at the Coastguard Station at St. 
Rock's Head, close to where the vessel was 
wrecked last night. You have hurt your foot, so 
the doctor said you must not go on with the others, 
and they brought you here to be taken care of. I 



310 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

live near, so as the chief officer^s wife is an invalid, 
I came to see if I could help. What can I do for 
you?" 

Anstace expected a question about the child, but 
instead, the mother, throwing herself back, said, 
" Oh, I don't know. Didn't they save any of my 
boxes? This isn't my night-dress; it has got some 
nasty cheap edging on it." 

" Never mind," said Anstace, soothingly; " it 
will do till you get some things of your own. I 
don't know what was saved, but I believe nothing 
can be touched till the underwriters come. Now 
let me brush and comb your hair ; I will do it very 
gently, and it will make you feel more com- 
fortable." 

She was not given to improving the occasion, so 
she forbore to point out to her patient that the 
saving of her own life and the child's from such 
imminent peril might outweigh the loss of many 
boxes, and contented herself with enjoining the 
necessity of keeping the injured foot still in the 
position in which it had been placed by the doctor. 
She smiled to herself as she recognised Brenda's 
ivorine brush, with a silver B, that had been placed 
at the disposal of the visitor. Was it only a year 
ago that it had been brought out for her own 
behoof? 

The morning wore on in ministering to the 
various needs and whims of the sick woman, and 
Anstace found her patience a good deal tried, for 
it really seemed as if the invalid took pleasure in 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 311 

inventing wants to keep her nurse perpetually on 
her feet. She had a good deal of fever, and ram- 
bled occasionally in her talk; when she did so she 
strayed into Romaic: when she was more herself 
she spoke in fluent and somewhat slangy French. 

She appeared, from obscure hints she threw out 
from time to time, to have been on her way to 
England in pursuit of an errant husband — "un 
monsieur trcs riche, tres bien-eleve." She volun- 
teered that her ^' stage name '' was Madame Pa- 
ruta, and referred rather magniloquently to a title 
in the background, did she choose to assume it. 
Anstace hardly knew what to take for true and 
what for feverish ramblings, and was not sorry 
when the perpetual babble ceased and she sank 
into a doze. It was really a pity that the cry of a 
child from next door, not a pitiful wail, but the 
substantial, passionate roar of an angry child, 
should have broken upon her slumbers. 

" Oh, there's Baba," she cried, crossly; " do go 
and make him be quiet." 

Anstace, nothing loath to escape from the room 
for a little while, went into Mrs. Clibbet's to find 
Iris in the yard, very red in the face, engaged in 
hand-to-hand conflict with a small urchin who was 
pommelling her all he knew. 

" Oh, ma'am," cried the little nursemaid, " did 
you ever see such a naughty boy I Just look at the 
mess his hands and face is in, and I only wanted 
to wash 'em at the pump, and he flew at me like 
a little tiger-cat, he did." 



u y 



312 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Anstace waited a minute, till the infuriated baby 
had to pause to get his breath, and in the momen- 
tary cessation of the din she held out her hand, but 
without trying to touch him, and spoke to him 
softly in the musical tongue he was used to. The 
effect was magical; with a parting slap at Iris, he 
sidled up to her and began to bemoan to her 
the stupidity of all these silly deaf people, who 
wouldn't understand what he wanted. Presently 
she was able to lift him up and carry him to Bren- 
da's room, where he could have his face and hands 
washed in a basin, conjecturing that the pump had 
frightened him. 

What a pretty little face it was when it was 
clean. ' Though the child was plump and firmly 
knit, with little limbs beautifully formed, the skin, 
though clear, was colourless but for the slight tan 
of sea winds. When she had finished the ablutions 
she put her hand under the little rounded chin and 
turned up his face. With a startled feeling she 
seemed to be gazing into eyes she knew, eyes clear 
brown, with dark rims and intensely blue whites. 
For a moment she felt pale; then she pulled her- 
self together and reminded herself how strange a 
likeness there is in race, a likeness always more 
apparent to foreigners. 

^' What is your name, little man ? '* she asked. 

" Giorgi." 

" And what else? Georgie what? " 

" Don't know. Want dindin " — or its equiva- 
lent in baby Greek. And, putting his little hand in 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 313 

that of his new friend, he trotted downstairs with 
her in complete amity. 

In the afternoon the doctor came, and Anstace 
was not sorry to find he had imported a trained 
nurse; nursing was by no means to her taste, 
though she could do it well at need, and she was 
far more disposed to devote herself to the small 
stranger than to his mother. She was not wont to 
take dislikes, but she had taken a vehement one to 
her patient, though she chid herself for it, ac- 
cusing herself of impatience with a sick woman^s 
whims. Yet she knew it was something deeper 
than that, a sense of repulsion she could neither 
master nor account for. Though just now slightly 
disfigured, the girl was pretty, exceedingly pretty, 
but with the kind of beauty that appeals to men 
rather than women; her nose was long, her eyes 
rather too close together; she was soft with the 
softness of a panther at play, ready to strike in a 
moment with long, sharp claws, and with a world 
of evil passion lurking in the comers of those long 
eyes that never met you fairly. The doctor seemed 
to admire her immensely. Her injuries were not 
serious, he said ; it would have been a case for the 
hospital but for the difficulty of transport over 
those rough hilly roads, so, though she might be 
laid up for some time, as Bartlemy was willing to 
give house-room, it would be better she should be 
nursed there for the present. 

The child was the difficulty; Brenda, of course, 
was unable to take charge of him, and he was far 



314 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

more trouble than an infant, as his active little legs 
led him into mischief or danger at every turn. Mrs. 
Clibbet and Iris were too busy to be saddled with 
the care of such a troublesome young person; 
moreover he was so indignant at their failure to 
understand his many demands that he filled not 
only their house, but the^ Bartlemys', with the 
sound of his loud protests, disturbing his mother 
and rendering impossible the rest the doctor said 
was so essential for her. 

Anstace felt the only thing was for her to take 
him home, for the one night at any rate ; her own 
baby sisters had given her a certain experience in 
children's ways, and she thought she could manage 
him, and if she could not, surely Abigail could. 
The little creature appealed to her strangely in his 
prettiness and quaintness, and as to his tongue, the 
sound of it crept into her heart like honey. 



IV 

-Anstace started gaily on her way, resolving to 
get home as quickly as possible, for the short win- 
ter day was already closing in. Having the child, 
it seemed best to go on foot, leaving the bicycle to 
be called for next day, but she soon found she had 
reckoned without her host, for her little companion 
was too small to walk and too big to be carried; 
a very few yards of the rough, steep Prestway 
tired his short legs, and he clamoured to be taken 
up. She lifted him in her arms, but it is one thing 
to carry a plump child of three years old about the 
house and garden for a few minutes and quite 
another to toil with him along an uphill road for 
a couple of miles. She sighed for Jerry and wished, 
failing his assistance, she had brought the bicycle 
and wheeled it, holding the child on to the saddle. 
When her arms ached intolerably and her breath 
grew short she had to set him down perforce, and 
besought him to try and walk ^' just a little wee 
way." Not a bit of it; Master George plumped 
himself down on the damp ground, and stiffened 
himself against all attempts to set him on his little 
legs. Then she tried taking him pick-a-back for a 
change, till his fat arms throttled her and she was 
fain to cry for mercy, and set him down again, 
whereupon he lifted up his voice in a loud roar of 
protest, mingled with many demands. 

315 



3i6 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

He wanted his tea, though Brenda had given 
him milk and buns just before they started; he 
wanted his bed, his very own bed; he wanted his 
*' Mumi/' regardless of the fact that if his 
" Mumi '* had been within earshot she would un- 
doubtedly have slapped him. Anstace fervently 
wished she had had the sense to have asked Bar- 
tlemy to come with her or send one of the men to 
carry the child. Never was sound more welcome 
than a man's footstep and a cheery whistle as a 
figure appeared, striding down the hill she was so 
painfully climbing, which, on nearer approach, 
resolved itself into Peter Whitcthorne. 

" Why, Mrs. Claude, is this your share of flot- 
sam and jetsam? I thought they had all been 
packed off to their destinations by this time/' 

'^ All but this child and his mother; she is laid 
up at the station with a broken ankle, and as he 
was too much for Mrs. Bartlemy I rashly under- 
took him. I find the enterprise is harder than I 
thought, rather like driving a calf or a little 
pig to market, and he is heavy to carry up these 
hills." 

" Give him to me," said Peter, holding out his 
arms. 

"But you were going the other way; I can't 
bother you. Thanks very much, but no ; I under- 
took the job and I must see it through." 

" Don't be obstinate. What does it matter 
which way I was going? As a matter of fact, I 
was on my way to inquire and see if I could be of 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 317 

any use, so it is all in the day's work. Come on, 
young man; have a ride on my shoulder? " 

If George could not understand the words, he 
could grasp the invitation of the strong arms held 
out to him, and flung himself into them with small 
gratitude to Anstace. 

Peter walked on in silence for a little distance. 
He was not quite at ease with his companion: 
except that once when she had brought his father 
home he had not seen her to speak to since he had 
taken counsel with her, and had talked so freely 
of his perplexities. She might not unnaturally 
resent his seeming rudeness and think him capri- 
cious. 

But Anstace was not the kind of woman 
who is on the lookout for slights : perhaps her one 
great experience of desertion and scorn had dead- 
ened her to all such things, as in the ocean we take 
no notice of the raindrops. She was glad to find 
herself in Peter's company again; there was some 
thing in the personality of the man that always 
refreshed and braced her. She was soon talking 
away as simply as she used on their first acquaint- 
ance. The wreck supplied subject enough. 

" Wasn't it a curious thing," she said; ^^ only a 
little more than a year ago I was cast up at the 
Bartlemys' door out of a sea of trouble, and now 
this poor girl comes to them out of the actual sea 
and is taken into the same harbour of refuge? 
There she is, in the little spare room, sleeping in 
the bed I slept in." 



3i8 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" It is odd ; It must give you a sort of sympathy 
with her." 

^* It ought, and still more another strange thing; 
she seems to be a Levantine, she speaks a form of 
Romaic, though she can talk French, so I am the 
only person who can talk to her. I don't suppose 
there is another spot on this coast where she could 
have found anybody who could understand her 
tongue or talk to the little boy." 

"What a queer coincidence I What is she like?" 

Anstace postponed the question. " Didn't you 
see her last night? " she said. 

" No ; they had carried her up before I get 
there; I was only in time to help with the crew, 
and some of them went home with me to the Vicar- 
age for breakfast, but my lot went off quite early. 
I should have been round sooner to ask after this 
poor thing, but the excitement rather upset my 
father; anything of that sort is always bad for 
him, you know." 

Anstace understood, and kept a sympathetic 
silence for a minute. Then Peter resumed : " What 
is she like ? " 

" It is hard to say; she is ill and feverish, and 
naturally it makes her very irritable. It is horrid 
and prejudiced of me, but in spite of the singular 
claim she seems to have on me, I cannot bear her. 
I don't like Levantines : I never could abide them : 
you know how they are looked on in the East, and 
besides there is something about her — ^well, for 
one thing, fancy, she was so concerned about her 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 319 

boxes she never asked about her baby, and Bar- 
demy says she never thought of him when she 
was being rescued; some other woman brought 
him over." 

" Poor little chap I I see your prejudice doesn't 
extend to him." 

" No, indeed I Isn't he a darling? I only hope 
Mrs. Chinchen won't mind my bringing him." 

" You may depend she has room in her heart 
for any number of shipwrecked babies: she'll be 
enchanted." 

" I believe she will; It is an engaging little mor- 
tal, isn't it? It is an odd thing he speaks much 
better Greek than his mother; he can babble in 
French, too, quite prettily." 

'^ I suppose he isn't old enough to tell you where 
they came from ? " 

*' No; but Madame Paruta, as she calls herself, 
was able to talk a little. She told me they were 
coming from Marseilles to Southampton on a 
French vessel, and got driven out of their course. 
It is a little difficult to understand her, for she 
mixes her languages so; she speaks French very 
fluently and almost too fast for me, but when she 
is weak and inclined to ramble she lapses into a 
very corrupt Romaic. She told me she is on the 
stage, and from something she said I fancy she is 
a dancer, and if so, she can hardly belong to a very 
well thought of class. I don't want to say any- 
thing uncharitable, but you know how that profes- 
sion is looked on in the East. She spoke of having 



320 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

cancelled her engagement and left the company 
she was touring with in Marseilles. I gathered 
she was on her way to join her husband, without 
well knowing where to find him. She seems rather 
a mystery — not that I have any right to look 
askance on people who make a mystery." 

" At any rate she'll give the good folk here 
something fresh to talk about," said Peter, not 
without bitterness. 

"There hardly seems anyone in this place to 
talk," said Anstace, smiling. " Here at least one 
is out of the world." 

" Don't make too sure of that. One such house 
as — ^well, I name no names, but I know places 
where they can brew poison enough for a whole 
neighbourhood." 

There was so much meaning in his tone that 
Anstace could not but gather that she herself had 
been the subject of comment and speculation. 
Well, she couldn't wonder at it; she remembered 
her reception by the Miss Pinnefeathers on con- 
fessing her lack of references; they had no doubt 
drawn unfavourable conclusions about her, a fact 
she was too wide-minded to resent, though she 
could imagine her friends might resent it on her 
behalf. 

** I suppose they talk about me," she said; " but 
after all, what does it matter? People, especially 
In little country places, where there isn't very much 
going forward, will always speculate about any- 
body whose life isn't quite on the ordinary lines, 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 321 

and those whose minds are small will have small 
and rather objectionable ideas. I don't suppose 
they say anything very bad of me, and those of my 
friends who do matter, know — ^you and Mr. 
Clyne and Abigail." 

"What? You knew I had guessed? I never 
betrayed it, did I?" 

"No; Mr. Clyne told me. I did not really 
mind your knowing, or his — indeed, I had told 
Abigail myself — ^though mine is such a strange, 
unprecedented position that at first I could not bear 
that anyone should know. The worst Is that even 
when people do know, they will not always under- 
stand : that was what drove me from Binamy." 

" Ah I But surely Mr. Clyne would never mis- 
understand In any way that could affront you ? " 

" Simply by regarding me as an unmarried 
woman. Oh, he meant It generously, I know, but 
I could not ^" 

" So that was It. Well, I might have guessed. 
But you see those others, who don't know, specu- 
late. They regard you as a widow, and get all 

sorts of notions. That was why " Peter 

pulled up short, then desperately floundered on. 
" I know you must have thought me awfully rude 
and queer lately, but It was because — don't you 
see?" 

Anstace did see, and rather wondered she had 
not before. She only said, " Oh," and walked on 
for a few yards beside him. 

It was annoying — offensive, yet was it worth 



322 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

while to sacrifice a tangible good such as their 
friendship had come to be to both of them to a 
shadowy possibility of misunderstanding in the 
mind of a wholly indifferent Mrs. Grundy? At 
last she spoke: 

" I never thought of that," she said, " and, after 
all, is it wise to think too much of it ? Don't mis- 
understand me ; I know well that in such an anom- 
alous position as mine one must needs be doubly 
guarded— that was why Binamy became impossi- 
ble for me, once a mistaken idea had crept in." 

" Exactly, and you understand my one feeling 
was that, especially because of your loneliness, no 
slightest breath of scandal that I could help should 
come near you." 

" I know ; yet it seems to me that if it means that 
a woman who is cut off from near ties must there- 
fore forego all friendship except with her own sex 
on pain of baseless misunderstanding, then I think 
the price is too high." 

For a moment she half feared she had spoken 
too freely, for Peter strode on for a few yards 
without a word. He was a slow thinker, and he 
liked to marshal his thoughts before he clothed 
them in words. She felt she had said either too 
much or too little; at the risk of making matters 
worse between herself and him, she was impelled 
to make the position clear as it stood in her own 
mind. 

" As we have begun, let us face it fairly : do you 
think that two like ourselves, who, thoroughly 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 323 

recognising each other's position with its barriers, 
have grown into a helpful friendship, taking coun- 
sel with one another and adding to the interests 
and pleasures of their lives, ought, in deference to 
their local Mrs. Grundy and her conception of 
affairs, to abstain from each other's company, to 
cease from friendly meetings, to treat one another, 
in short, as though there were some coolness or 
estrangement between them ? I don't know how it 
may look to you; to me it is sacrificing to false 
gods." 

" You are right," he said, " and wise. Thank 
you." 

From henceforth, whatever the might-have- 
beens, for Peter, Anstace was as absolutely bien 
d'autrui as though her husband walked In visible 
shape on her other side. 

All had been said that needed to be said, and a 
little silence fell between them, which he presently 
broke by speaking to the child — ^who had woke 
and began to fret — and shifting him to his other 
shoulder. 

" Here, let me have him," said Anstace, coming 
closer; " I am sure you have carried him long 
enough, and he is so sleepy he will be good now." 

" Let be; he is much too heavy for you; he's all 
right. Look how he has settled down." For the 
small George had nestled himself to sleep again, 
grasping the white clerical stock in one puggy 
hand, to its serious detriment. 

" Look here," said Peter, presently; " you have 



324 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

granted me your friendship and your confidence, 
and I know the outline of your story; I wonder if 
you would let me ask you a question or two : have 
you never heard, directly or indirectly, of the — ^the 
bridegroom since?" 

" Never : his one relative in England died not 
long after I came here, and when once my father 
had ascertained that he was alive and there had 
been no foul play, I could not suffer any inquiry to 
be prosecuted. I suppose it was folly, but I had 
that feeling." 

" And — forgive me — ^have you any theory at 
all to account for his prolonged desertion ? " 

" Hardly any. It has seemed sometimes possi- 
ble that some mental aberration might have come 
upon him ; one hears of such things sometimes : and 
he might yet — ^but the time Is so long; I do not let 
myself hope." 

Peter mused a while, but saw no light. 

" It is the strangest story I ever heard. And 
you would sooner live on in this lonely, hidden life, 
neither married nor unmarried, than take any step 
to free yourself?" 

"Free myself? Never 1 Would you seek to 
free yourself from your vow, though your church 
will not ratify it? " 

"I, too, say Never!" 



Meanwhile, with the winter dzySj the shadows 
which for a while had lifted were closing in again 
over The Golden Bowl and its master. The light 
had continued to fade for Eldred Clyne, and daily 
he missed more and more the quick eye and ready 
hand, the tactful perception, that had always been 
swift to serve him. He cursed his folly in having 
thrown away the substance to grasp at the shadow. 
At the time he had completely mistaken the two, 
and fancied he should exchange the shadow of an 
unsubstantial service, liable to elude him at any 
time, for the solid reality of a permanent relation. 
Well, he had lost both now by his rash throw. 

Poor Father lanstone was the chief sufferer: in 
vain with well-meant blundering he attempted to 
fill the place of the vanished Anstace, and perform 
the little nameless tasks that while she was there 
had seemed to get themselves done without hands. 
At least it would seem that he might have grappled 
not unsuccessfully with the writing from dictation 
of the intertwined histories of Binamy and Pucks- 
down Abbey, which Mr. Clyne had at length been 
induced to undertake, and for which the Father's 
store of learning and knowledge of obscure periods 
of history should have fitted him to deal far better 
than could Anstace with her untrained faculties; 
but here, alas I he made his most conspicuous fail- 
ure. He knew far too much : he was maddeningly 

325 



326 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

discursive, and he constantly broke the thread of 
the real author's thought by wandering along each 
byway that presented itself, and trying to bring in 
a mass of heterogeneous and incompatible material. 
Then Eldred Clyne, who had the blind man's pa- 
tience yet to learn, would storm, and the Father, 
meekest of men, would metaphorically cast ashes 
on his own head and declare that he alone was to 
blame. 

The upshot was that one afternoon in January 
the good Father appeared at Mount Misery, his 
cassock tucked up, tramping through the snow. 
Anstace was in the front garden, teaching her lit- 
tle charge to snowball, for George's visit to Mount 
Misery had been indefinitely prolonged. At the 
Coastguard Station nobody wanted him; his 
mother least of all, and to Anstace he was a con- 
tinual joy. " He has come to me," she said, " like 
my little white harbinger dove ; I must keep him ; 
I believe he is mine." She had wondered a little 
when she imported him how her host would take 
the intrusion, but Christopher Angel had a soft 
corner for children, the more as he saw the mere 
presence of a child in the house filled Abigail with 
content. She indeed would have been well pleased 
to take charge of him altogether, but Anstace, who 
never before had shown herself particularly fond 
of children, though always very kind to her little 
half-sisters, insisted on learning to do everything 
for him herself, bathed and dressed him, and had 
him to sleep in her room. So Abigail, smiling to 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 327 

herself as she saw how the care of him filled and 
satisfied Anstace*s blank and empty days, stood 
aside and let her puzzle out for herself how to 
manage him, how to keep him as fairly clean as a 
romping boy would be kept, and bridle his wilful- 
ness within due bounds. 

Of course Anstace developed her own theories 
of bringing up; somewhat vain, it would seem, 
since a few weeks at furthest would probably see 
the end of her labours; still it amused and occu- 
pied her. He was not to be hedged round with an 
infinity of restrictions, but the few commands given 
him were to be absolutely obeyed; and this was a 
lesson not to be learned in a week, for hitherto his 
only law had been the caprice of a selfish mother ; 
he had learned to bend to fear, in nowise to reason. 

He had never before seen snow in his little life, 
and rarely felt such cold as that of an English Jan- 
uary. He was inclined to creep, fretting, into the 
warmest comer of the settle beside the fire, but 
Anstace, who, left to herself, would most likely 
have felt the same, wrapped him up and coaxed 
him out to play, like an English boy, with the 
pretty white feathers, though they stung his fingers, 
and soon had him laughing and romping, storming 
wonderful white castles, and pelting the ogre, per- 
sonated by Anstace, with snowballs. Her cheeks 
were rosy, her dress and hair daubed with white 
when the Father came up the path. 

" Well, this doesn't look much like Mount Mis- 
cry," was his greeting. " Who is the little man? " 



328 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" Why, he came to me off the wreck, like a little 
white bird seeking shelter," she said, as she picked 
him up from the snowdrift in which he was rolling 
and kicking, and tossed him up to her shoulder. 
*' His mother is the lady who fell into the sea in 
being rescued and got her foot hurt ; she can't look 
after him, so as I am the only person who knows 
anything of his language, I brought him home/' 

"Why, where do you come from?" said the 
priest, touching the little brown cheek, that in- 
stantly hid itself in Anstace's neck. 

" I think they are Levantine, but this baby will 
not have it. " Eisai Anatolite? " she said, bend- 
ing her face to the boy. 

" Den, den," cried the child, angrily ; " eimai 
Hellene." ♦ 

" Dear, dear, how funny it seems to hear a baby 
talk Greek 1 It would amuse Mr. Clyne." 

" You would not know it for Greek if he said 
many words ; the Levantine Romaic is an odd mix- 
ture of tongues. But won't you come in. Father? 
You, who have not been snowballing, must feel 
this keen wind, and it is time my baby had his 
nap. 

'' You look as if snowballing agreed with you 
better than cataloguing," said the Father, wist- 
fully ; " but I came over charged with a commis- 
sion to bring you back to your work, if it may be." 

" To bring me back? Did Mr. Clyne say so? " 

" He did, indeed ; Binamy can't get on without 
you : I do my best, but I am a foolish, blundering 

• " Are you a Levantine? " <* No^ n<s I am a Greek." 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 329 

old fellow. I thought I was fit to grub about among 
books, but it seems not even that. My catalogue 
was a failure, and I cannot write for Mr. Clyne to 
content him as you used. It is a foolish habit, I 
know, but something sets me off, and I put in other 
things that were not intended before I realise what 
I am doing, and then Mr. Clyne is annoyed, very 
much annoyed. Yesterday — now mind, this is 
quite between ourselves — ^he would have thrown 
die inkstand at me, he told me so himself, if he 
could have laid his hands on it; as it was, it was 
only the penwiper. It vexed me, naturally, not 
that I minded for myself, it was quite soft, but 
there is a certain respect due to my cloth which he 
should not forget. Well, I don't want to make 
too much of that, but the upshot was that I said, 
* Couldn't we get Mrs. Claude to came back? ' 
and his answer was, * Go and ask her,— on her own 
terms, mind.' I suppose it was a question of terms, 
but I own I was surprised, for I have always found 
Mr. Clyne most generous in his dealings. How- 
ever, name what you wish." 

*^ I don't think he meant terms in that sense," 
said Anstace, half laughing and half touched. ** I 
was abundantly satisfied with my salary: it was a 
little misunderstanding that we had; but if he will 
consent to take my view, and never refer to it 
again, perhaps I might — I don't know, though; 
there is the little boy." 

" The little boy 1 But he is surely not a per- 
manence?" 



330 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" I suppose not," she answered, sighing. " Well, 
when he goes." 

" And meanwhile are we to flounder on in this 
miserable manner? " 

" Well, but Father, you got on very well with- 
out me before ever I invaded you." 

" Not very well; no, I don't think we did. Be- 
sides, there is no doubt about it, Mr. Clyne gets 
worse and more dependent, and he misses you at 
every turn. Must I go back and tell him you will 
not come ? " 

Anstace mused a moment. Though the picture 
Father lanstone drew was ludicrous, it was pa- 
thetic, too, to think of the poor, dear Ogre, in his 
helpless impatience, driven to pelting the venerable 
priest with penwipers or whatever he could lay his 
hands on : surely it was time somebody went to the 
rescue, and who could, save herself ? It was sweet, 
too, to feel herself in demand, that someone needed 
her for whom no one else would do instead. As 
to the boy, she knew perfectly well he would be 
quite safe and happy with Abigail, and she would 
still have his sweet company to return to in the 
evenings; so Igng as Madame Paruta stayed, that 
is, but she was recovering so quickly he would soon 
be taken away altogether. 

" Tell Mr. Clyne I will come. The only condi- 
tion I make is that he forgets entirely and lets me 
forget what drove me away before." 

'' That will be all right. I am authorised to 
promise in his name that your conditions, whatever 



COMING OF THE WHITE BIRD 331 

they were, should be faithfully observed. Any 
apology, I am sure " 

" Oh, I don't want any; there isn't any occasion 
for any. It was not a case of — penwipers." 

*' I thought it could hardly have been so with a 
lady : I am sure the Squire would not so forget him- 
self, but I thought perhaps if he were hasty he 
might have used expressions, forgetful to whom 
he was speaking. He has had a good deal to try 
him in the course of his life." 

" No, no; I was myself more to blame for tem- 
per if anyone was; it was only a misunderstand- 
ing on his part. We will not refer to it, but take 
a clean sheet and begin again." 

Anstace was a trifle late in arriving at her work, 
which was reprehensible the first morning, but she 
had lingered to give George a ride on Jerry before 
she could tear herself from the clasp of his little 
aqns. When she did come, she slipped into her 
old place as if she had never been away. Sht found 
her little turret chamber all in order for her, and 
as soon as she had changed her riding skirt she 
went to work without asking for Mr. Clyne, and 
there he found her when an hour later he came in. 
He expressed no gratitude, which she was glad of, 
nor gave utterance to his satisfaction, save by the 
sigh of content with which he sank into his accus- 
tomed chain 

"Well," he said, "and has the Father been 
making hay of your catalogue in your absence? " 

" No; I rather wonder at it; but I tied the note- 



332 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

books together and put them in one of the pigeon- 
holes, and he doesn^t seem to have found them, 
which is lucky. I see he has been adding to the 
material; here are a whole string of notes on the 
different variants of Arme Heinrich, written on 
the back of some manuscript sermons; they work 
in together rather oddly." 

" Ah, just now Arme Heinrich is pretty much 
what Charles the First's head was to Mr. Dick: 
the Crusading Clynes led to him, the monks of 
Pucksdown Abbey led to him, and it was difficult to 
travel in any direction without encountering him 
eventually. Well, shall we do a little work on the 
book now? I feel in the vein, but you will find 
there is considerable undoing to be got through 
first," 

They soon set to work, and Mr. Clyne was 
deeply absorbed, but Anstace occasionally found 
her thoughts straying off to Mount Misery, pictur- 
ing, as the dusk gathered, a little sleepy head 
nestled into the cushions of the old settle, the 
brown eyes closed, the little round cheek flushed 
with sleep, the thumb in the baby mouth, while 
Abigail stepped softly to and fro about her work. 
Pleading the short dark days, she flew home as 
early as she could be released, eager as a mother to 
hear the little shout and laugh of joy with which 
" her baby " would greet her. And in a week at 
furthest he would most likely be hers no longer. 



BOOK VI 



THE SIL£NC£ BROKEN 



Peter was perplexed In mind; he doubted how 
far it was his duty to minister to the stray black 
sheep that had wandered into his fold. She had 
declined visits from Father lanstone which had 
been proposed to her, saying she was not a Catho- 
lic ; indeed she seemed an utter pagan so far as any 
religious observances were concerned. But the 
parson of a seaboard parish always holds himself 
bound to look after the human wreckage cast up on 
his shores, and this girl seemed especially forlorn ; 
she had no friends in England, she said, though 
she made occasional mysterious allusions to a hus- 
band who appeared to have deserted her. 

Peter was half attracted, half repelled: her 
childish and appealing beauty was combined with 
so cynical a familiarity with evil, so conscienceless 
an outlook, that his straightforward, simple soul 
was often appalled at revelations of a wickedness 
at which he shuddered but which she seemed to 
take coolly for granted. As to making any serious 
impression on her, that he felt was beyond him, the 
more so as his slender and academic knowledge of 
French rendered conversation a difficulty ; he could 

333 



334 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

say what he wanted slowly and with reflection, but 
when she poured out a torrent of gabble in re- 
sponse he was hopelessly lost. 

There was some chance of rescuing the child 
from the unwholesome roving life to which his 
mother talked of returning, for Mrs. Claude and 
Abigail had been maturing a project on behalf of 
their pet: they thought if Madame Paruta had 
really resolved on going back to the stage she might 
not be unwilling to leave the little fellow in Mrs. 
Chinchen's care, paying a small sum for his board. 
They had the better hope of her consent that she 
seemed so indifferent to his company, though gorg- 
ing him with sweets when she was in good humour, 
cuffing him mercilessly or shutting him in a closet 
when she found him in her way. Mrs. Bartlemy 
also reported that there would be no difficulty 
about paying for him; had there been, Anstace 
would gladly have taken his maintenance on her- 
self, but Madame frequently boasted that she was 
not dependent on her earnings: there was money 
to pay for the boy if she chose to put him out to 
nurse. It was Anstace's idea that Peter had bet- 
ter moot the scheme; she had never been able to 
conquer her strong repugnance to the Levantine, 
and moreover had a conviction that Madame was 
one of those who set themselves in opposition to 
any suggestion from their own sex and lend a 
favourable ear to men. 

So, charged with this mission, he one day betook 
himself to St. Rock's, eager to propound the plan. 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 335 

Mrs. Claude's interest in little George had com- 
municated itself to him : truly it was a most intelli- 
gent and engaging little mortal : it was heart-break- 
ing to think of him dragged about in a touring 
company, neglected on one hand, spoilt on the 
other, and with a precodous schooling in evil. But 
if anything were to be arranged, there was not 
much time to lose ; the mother was quite recovered 
and might be off any day. 

As he took his way he was revolving in his 
mind how to clothe his proposition in French that 
would pass muster, conning laborious phrases as 
he breasted the hill. As he drew near, sounds 
broke in upon his meditations that made him fancy 
someone in the station must have started a gramo- 
phone; music, shrill singing, the thrumming of a 
banjo, broken now and again with bursts of hand- 
clapping and loud guffaws. Reaching the gate, a 
singular spectacle burst upon his astonished eyes. 
Upon the wall sat Conroy, thrumming gaily a 
cake-walk, behind it leaned the whole force, with 
the exception of the chief officer, their pipes in 
their mouths, their white caps thrust to the back 
of their heads, their hands held ready to applaud, 
while around in a circle stood the entire infant 
population, the big ones holding the little ones by 
the hand, all open-mouthed and agape. 

In the midst of the small paved court fluttered 
about what might have been a great white butter- 
fly, muslin draperies held wide in two outstretched 
arms like wings, now stepping daintily down the 



336 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

front with arched feet and contorted body, now 
whirling away with twinkling toes that barely 
touched the ground, anon tossing up one foot till 
it seemed to flick the back of the little ear. 

Peter was too amazed for words, but while he 
stood with the gate in his hand, down came Bar- 
tlemy from the Look-out. A sharp word and the 
audience melted like snow in summer, the music 
stopped with an unresolved chord, and the dancer 
stood motionless, her white draperies slowly fall- 
ing round her. 

'^ Madam," said Bartlemy, standing square be- 
fore her and saluting, *' if you are well enoug^i to 
dance, I presume you are well enough to travel. 
I will telephone to Stonedge for a cab for to-mor- 
row morning. Comprenny ? " 

The last word was the only syllable of French 
he knew : it took off a little from the dignity of his 
address. She spread out her hands with a little 
gesture of perplexity. 

"Je ne * comprenny* pas du tout," she said; 
then, perceiving Peter, she continued in French, 
" I don't know what he is talking about, except 
that he is scolding me. Tell him he is not to be 
angry with the men. I thought I must practice a 
bit before I go back to work, and, as you may 
suppose, there is no room in the house, so I came 
out here, and naturally they came to look, and the 
tall one fetched his banjo. I made my skirt out of 
some old muslin curtains I begged from Mrs. Clib- 
bet ; don't you think it was very clever of me ? It 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 337 

IS such a nuisance I can't get those boxes of mine; 
I have some lovely ones, all spangles, If they are 
not completely soused in the sea." 

" Mr. Bartlemy thinks," translated Peter, 
rather embarrassed, and softening his version a 
little, *' that if you are well enough to dance you 
would be able to travel; so should he order a fly 
for you — to-morrow, perhaps? " 

"Oh, I am turned out, am I? Very good: I 
should have turned myself out soon: I was only 
waiting for those boxes. Come in, won't you? Or 
did you only come to see Mrs. Bartlemy? " 

" No, my visit to-day was to you." He fol- 
lowed her into the front parlour, which had been 
given up to her, where she flung herself into an 
easy chair, throwing her feet up in another, lighted 
a cigarette, and offered him one. 

" Dame 1 how tired I am I " she exclaimed, 
stretching herself; " I wonder how long it will be 
before I am really flt to dance again ? " 

" I am glad I happened to come up to-day to 
catch you before you left," said Peter, beginning 
to recover from his confusion, " for I had a propo- 
sition to make. In your unsettled life, so young a 
child as Georgie must be rather a difficulty, so I 
was going to suggest your leaving him for a while 
in Mrs. Chinchen's care; she is quite willing to 
undertake him for a very moderate remuneration, 
and I am authorised to say Mrs. Claude would 
have an eye to him." 

Madame took the cigarette out of her mouth. 



338 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

bit off the end, and looked at it attentively for a 
minute. 

"It would be so healthy f'or him; children 
always do best in the country," Peter urged, for 
he knew Anstace had set her heart on keeping the 
child. 

"H'm, perhaps; but he may turn out a valu- 
able asset. It is true I don't want to be bothered 
with him on tour, and IVe almost promised to go 
back; the boss is wild to get me, and it seems this 
quest is going to prove a frost. If I leave him, 
will you give me your word he shall be produced 
at any minute if I wanted him ? " 

Much of this was lost on Peter, but he under- 
stood the final demand. 

" Of course, of course. No one would wish to 
separate him from his mother; you will see him 
whenever you choose." 

He doubted, however, how much of this was 
maternal solicitude : it sounded more as if the child 
were a little piece of property that might conceiv- 
ably rise in value. 

" I don't mind telling you, you know," she went 
on, blowing light rings of smoke into the air, " that 
the boy has a title if I chose to claim it, and the 
succession to two estates, one in England and one 
out there " — vindicating the East vaguely with a 
wave of her cigarette — ** I kept my stage name for 
this journey, for I thought it best Monsieur should 
not get wind of our coming, but now I learn from 
his agenti through whom I get my money, that he 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 339 

IS really not in England, so I suppose the cock and 
bull story, as I thought it, he tried to put me off 
with may turn out to be true after all." 

Through the maze of this Peter only got hold 
of one idea. " You thought your husband was in 
England?" he said. 

'' Of course I did, and all the more because he 
told me he wasn't. It was too droll what he said 
he had done; I thought it was to put me off the 
scent, don't you see ? " 

Peter could see nothing clearly, but he hazarded 
a question. 

*' I don't want to ask anything indiscreet, but 
you have said so much, you will not mind my ask- 
ing. Do you mean that this man has deserted you 
and the child?" 

She sat up straight. *' Deserted ! I should 
think so ! And tried to marry someone else. He 
pretended to think I was dead. Mighty conven- 
ient for him if I had stayed dead a little longer." 

Strange apprehensions were running through 
Peter's mind. "Tell me more," he said, with 
breathless eagerness. " How came he to think you 
dead?" 

She looked at him sharply. Why should he be 
so agitated? What was it to him? Had he per- 
chance fallen in love with her? It was a view she 
was always prone to take, having a profound faith 
in her own attractions, but she had to own to her- 
self that all corroborative symptoms were wanting 
here. 



340 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" That's a long story," she said, " but you may 
see how he treats me now he knows I am alive/' 

She got up as she was speaking, and, reaching a 
letter-case from the book shelves, fluttered through 
the loose papers it contained and presently held 
out a letter. ** There, read that if you can, and 
tell me if any sane man would do such a ridiculous 
thing. I simply didn't believe him; I was as cer- 
tain as that I stand here that he was living with 
that creature somewhere in England, and that I 
could track him down through the Credit Lyon- 
nais: I have a friend in it who could give me 
introductions to the London branch of it, a man 
who rather fancies my dancing, and I thought 
I could get at the truth from them. My allowance 
is made me through that bank, so they must know 
where he is, and this morning I got word that from 
advices received my friend has every reason to 
believe that my husband is actually at Mount 
Athos, as his letter to me stated." She gave a loud, 
scornful laugh. " I suppose he thought himself 
safe there : they don't admit so much as a cat or a 
hen." And she shrieked with laughing again. 

Meanwhile Peter had unfolded the letter: writ- 
ten Greek, though modem, he could negotiate; 
it was easier to the eye than to the ear. It bore no 
address, but the postmark was Constantinople. He 
turned it over, as people are so apt to do with a 
strange letter, to look at the signature first. It 
leaped to meet his eye : Basil Leonides. 

Drops broke out on his forehead and the paper 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 341 

rustled in his hand that shook. This, this scoun- 
drel was the man who had wrecked the life of An- 
stace Claude; this was the man to whom her 
thoughts still clung, for whom she still kept in her 
most pure mind a shrine of faith, hope, and re- 
membrance ; the husband of a vulgar, tawdry little 
dancer, whom he had thought to buy off with 
money. He stood staring with blank eyes at the 
sheet in his hand. 

" Well, have you read it? or can't you read it? 
I can put it into French for you." 

" I believe I can make it out." He turned back 
to the beginning again. This is a rough transla- 
tion of what he read: 

Grazia: 

You have treated me wone than I have you: you let me believe 
3rou dead and betrayed me into committing a hideout crime, and 
now you demand the rights of a wife. So far as a maintenance it 
concerned, and no farther, you thall have them. An allowance, 
the amount of which you shall learn thortly, will be paid 3rou 
half-yearly through the Credit L3ronnais in Conttantinople. Me 
you thall never tee again. 

You tell me there it a child. If thit be true — I thall require 
proof — ^you may tend him to the charge of Father Demetriut at 
the Monatteiy at Aghio Str^iti, and he thall be brought up at 
befitt my ton. I am myself at the Lavra at Mount Athot, where 
yoa may addrett a letter. 

Basil LEONmBs. 

Peter read it through twice and reconsidered his 
first hasty verdict. It would seem the man was 
the betrayed rather than the betrayer. Questions 
chased each other through his mind bewilderingly ; 



342 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

he hardly knew which to put first. He gaVe the 
letter back and sat down again. 

"You have told me so* much,*' he said, "will 
you not tell me the whole story of your marriage 
and of what parted you. I do not ask from idle 
curiosity : I am interested in — in the child." 

Grazia loved nothing better than talking about 
herself: she put up her feet on the opposite chair 
again and started off on her narrative, nothing 
loath. 

" It was a runaway match," she began, "which 
I daresay won't surprise you. I was only sixteen, 
and at school — a queer sort of school it was, half 
French, half Armenian. I was the idlest and the 
naughtiest girl there, and — ^well, we'll say not bad- 
looking — " Peter having neglected to supply the 
hiatus as intended. She resumed : " The garden 
of the school abutted on an old Turkish graveyard, 
a place full of roses and nightingales and all the 
things that make you silly, and a lot of us used 
to creep out through the bushes by little ways we 
had made to meet the men we had scraped ac- 
quaintance with in the bazaars or somewhere. It 
was a marvel we weren't caught; I believe myself 
the teachers winked at it because they wanted to 
be after some little games of their own, and they 
knew if they told they'd be given away themselves. 
Well, one night Basil had been late, and then we'd 
had a quarrel and made it up— he had a beast of 
a temper — and when I got up through the garden 
the house was locked up for the night. I suppose 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 343 

I could have waked a servant and bribed her to let 
me in, or I might even have slept in the garden and 
got in in the morning, it was a hot night; but I 
was a little idiot and thought it would be much 
more romantic to do a desperate thing, so I went 
off to Basil's rooms and told him I was ruined 
and it was all his fault. Well, after that it was no 
use going back to school. We crossed the gulf 
of Moudania in a sailing boat, and went and got 
married at a little Greek church, by a Papa Basil 
knew, whom he could square. Oh, that part was 
all right and tight, and there's no Church can fix 
things firmer; it is none too easy to undo, once 
done, but Basil swore it must be kept secret. He 
was his uncle's heir, and the uncle was a Fanariote 
Greek, one of the old Empire families, you know, 
Archontic, as they call it, related to the Paleo- 
logus, I believe, as proud as Lucifer, and if he 
knew Basil had married a Levantine there'd be 
the devil to pay." 

" You are not a Greek, then ? " put in Peter. 

** Me ? I am Genoese and Armenian and Polish, 
with a little bit of Jew thrown in, and the old 
Greeks look on us as the dirt under their feet. 
Well, to go on, to stop the hue and cry after me, 
Basil went to my step-father and confessed what 
he had done, and gave him money to hold his 
tongue, and a promise to acknowledge me directly 
the old boy was dead. He could not live more 
than a year or so, and might die any time, we knew, 
for he had some mortal disease — but it is amazing 



u 



344 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

how people hold out when you are counting on 
their death. Of course, Basil could not take me 
to his home where the servants and everybody 
must have found out, so we went to a little cottage 
in a rose garden on one of the Prince's Islands, 
and I thought it was going to be idyllic. It did 
not last long, however; that wretched old man 
hung on and hung on, and it grew deadly dull. 
Somehow, before many weeks, we found out that 
we hated each other. I used to think Basil good- 
looking when I was at school, but sitting opposite 
to him day after day, I got to loathe his long, lean 
figure, and his queer eyes, which always looked as 
if they were seeing what nobody else saw — have 
you noticed the same thing in Giorgi's when he is 
in a serious mood ? Then Basil had fits of vehement 
repentance for deceiving his uncle^ and every time 
he had to go and visit him my heart was in my 
mouth, lest he should give us away and get cut off 
with a shilling, after all. 

"When I grew seedy, it got more and more 
deadly, and Basil did not like me to go over in the 
steamers for fear of being recognised, so I got a 
complete Turkish rig-out, yashmak and feringhee 
and all, and used to muffle up in it whenever I 
wanted to go over to the bazaar for a little amuse- 
ment. I got so sick of Basil that I almost made up 
my mind to go off and try for an engagement in 
some theatrical company — I can dance, as you saw 
for yourself — and come back when we had made 
sure of the property. However, I had to put aside 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 345 

that idea for a time ; it was not a moment for danc- 
ing with me, and then, just when it was no use to 
me, my chance came; I found the cage door left 
open. 

" You remember the earthquake ? Well, it 
chanced that Basil was away on a business journey 
and I might have been having a great time, if I 
had been up to amusing myself. Half the city 
was wrecked; walls and towers fell like a child's 
card houses, and the chief part of the bazaar was 
a ruin; the people came flocking in crowds to the 
islands for safety, but in Proti it seemed as though 
we had the brunt of it, and we fancied we should 
be safer in the city, so most of us rushed down to 
the steamers and went crowding on board hardly 
caring whither the boats were going, so only we 
could get away. The heaving of the sea from the 
earthquake wave was too ghastly for words; I 
was so ill I thought I should have died, and after 
an awful night I found myself put ashore at 
Moudania, to which it seemed I had paid my 
passage without well knowing what I was doing. 
I had no maid with me ; I had sent her earlier in 
the day in my Turkish clothes into the bazaar for 
some things I wanted, and the other servants had 
all run away in their terror, goodness only knows 
where. I took a carriage and drove up to Broussa, 
where the landlady at the hotel was very good to 
me, and there I stayed for a little. I had plenty 
of money, for I had brought all the money and 
valuables in the house I could lay my hands on, for 



346 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

of course if it had been wrecked, it would have 
been rifled. I did not at first know where to wire 
to Basil to tell him I was safe, and before I had 
I took up the paper one morning and saw that 
among the bodies got out from under the debris of 
the bazaar was that of Madame Zarastra — the 
name I had been passing under, a lady living in 
Proti. It was much disfigured, but had been identi- 
fied by the clothing by Count Leonides, and by 
him taken away for interment. So there was my 
chance. True, I couldn't do much with it just 
then, but later on I might. I informed the land- 
lady, with tears in my eyes, that I had just read 
of the death of my cousin's wife, lest she might 
mention that Madame Zarastra had been staying 
in her house subsequent to her own funeral; then, 
changing my name to Paruta, I slipped off to the 
house of an old schoolfellow at Therapia, where I 
lay perdu till after the boy came. She kept my 
secret; in fact, I don't think she believed in my 
marriage, at least, not in the genuineness of it, 
and then she arranged to put the baby out to nurse 
while I tried my wings on the stage. 

" I was immensely tickled at the notion of Basil 
going about the disconsolate widower; I hoped 
he had learned to appreciate me now he had lost 
me, and I thought I would come to life again when 
Count Theophilus died. But such things always 
happen at the most inconvenient moment; I was on 
tour when the old wretch died — he had gone on 
so long I had almost ceased to expect it — ^and did 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 347 
not hear of it for a week or two. When I did I 

m 

could not act immediately, but I had no intention 
of foregoing my share of that big fortune, to say 
nothing of the boy's claims. As soon as I could 
get free, I went to Smyrna to make inquiries, and 
heard that Count Basil had sailed for England as 
soon as he had settled his uncle's affairs, to see 
his old grandmother, and the next thing I heard 
was that he was to be married to an English 
girl immediately — with me scarcely cold in my 
grave ! " 

Peter had followed almost without eifort; it is 
wonderful how excitement clears the senses, and 
the fantastic little creature told her story as she 
might have narrated a tale from The Thousand 
and One Nights, missing no point, and emphasising 
with appropriate gesture. 

" Well," he said eagerly, " what did you do? " 
" I went straight to my friend in the Credit 
Lyonnais and told him my story. He, too, had 
understood that I was dead, and he was thunder- 
struck when he saw who I was. He swore by all 
his gods that Basil had acted in good faith : it may 
be ; knowing how he had got to hate me, I had my 
doubts. My friend got the address in London for 
me after a little delay, and I wired. For a long 
time I got no answer at all, and I made up my 
mind to go to England and denounce him. My 
step-father, I must tell you, was one of the victims 
of the earthquake, so, except this friend of mine, 
I had no one to take my part." 



348 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

"And did it never strike you," cried Peter 
fiercely, *' that you — you were the guilty one, that 
it was you who ought to stand at the bar for the 
crime committed against that English girl, not the 
one who committed it in ignorance ? " 

" What is that to me? Crime or no, I am his 
wife ; she is only ^^ 

" Hush I " cried Peter. " Do not dare to speak 
of her innocence so nearly outraged by you." 

In his excitement he spoke in English. Madame 
Paruta stared at him, amazed at his tone, though 
not understanding his words» then went on with 
her narrative : 

" After a bit my friend sent me a paper with a 
little paragraph relating the extraordinary disap- 
pearance of Count Leonides on his wedding day, 
and soon after sent word that his yacht, the Del* 
phine, had left English shores, but whither bound 
no one seemed to know. I wrote to his Smyrna 
business address and demanded my rights. I did 
not want to live with him again, but I would be 
acknowledged and have my share of the wealth 
I had been sacrificed for, and that was the letter 
I got. Until this morning my firm belief was that 
he had picked up the girl somewhere in the yacht, 
and if I could get to England I could trace them." 

" And now what do you mean to do? " 

She shrugged her shoulders and turned out the 
palms of her hands. 

" If he is really not in England, I may as well 
go back to Marseilles; I can't go to Mount Athos 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 349 

after him. Anyhow, if he wants his boy he must 
come and fetch him ; I am not going to send him." 
Peter's thoughts were in a whirl as he mechanic- 
ally said good-bye to her and left the cottage. 
What did it matter what she did, or what became 
of her? Who should tell Anstace, and how should 
she be told? Those were the questions that mat- 
tered. 



Straight for Mount Misery went Peter, so soon 
as he left the Coastguard Station. Another night 
should not close on the long suspense Anstace had 
borne, if he could help it. It was a terrible revela- 
tion he had to make, yet surely any certainty was 
better than the eternal answerless questions that 
had so tormented her. She must be told, and the 
sooner the better. How she would take it, he 
could not guess, nor could he imagine how he was 
to tell her : it had to be done, and he trusted to the 
inspiration of the moment. He hoped at least she 
would be back from Binamy ; she was pretty certain 
to be, for it was getting late, and since George's 
advent she seldom or never stayed there to tea. 

Yes, she was in ; the sound of merry voices and 
childish laughter greeted him as he stood in the 
porch, and Anstace opened the door herself, clad 
in an old fur coat with tumbled hair, for she and 
George were playing wild beasts in the square 
stone hall, making a lair of the faggot closet under 
the stairs: Georgie was in there now roaring 
horribly. 

Anstace observed how preoccupied her visitor 
seemed, shaking hands silently, hardly noticing 
the game or the laughing apology she was making 
for her untidy appearance; she stopped short in 

350 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 351 

what she was saying and was about to open the 
door of the living-room where Mr. Angel was en- 
joying his paper after tea, but he said, " My visit 
this evening is to you : may I come up ? " 

She led the way silently, with an apprehensive 
feeling. **You look worried," she said, as she 
stirred the fire to a blaze, for the lights were not 
yet lit; the dusk of the lengthening February day 
had hardly yet turned to dark. " Is anything 
amiss ? Can I do anything for you ? " 

Her speculations hovered between an outbreak 
of the old Vicar's weakness and fresh complica- 
tions at Home Nest: of her own affairs she never 
thought. 

** It is not myself : I have something to tell you." 
He stood looking down at her with anxious eyes. 
*' You have borne suspense so splendidly for such 
a long time, yet sometimes I have fancied you 
would feel any certainty was better. I have news 
for you." 

" What? " she said under her breath, her eyes 
seeming to dilate as she fixed them upon him. 
Little George, coming in at the moment with some 
clamorous request, was waved off in a way that 
surprised him. Peter took the child by the hand 
and drew him forward. 

" Take George on your knee," he said, " and 
look into his face. Do you see any other face you 
have known there ? " 

She obeyed him, and as she looked every vestige 
of colour faded out of her own : her eyes were fixed 



352 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

fascinated on those of the boy, who looked up at 
her wondering and a little frightened. She seemed 
unable to move or frame a question. 

" I see you guess," went on Peter. " Yes, it is 
true; he is the son of Basil Leonides, and the 
woman calling herself Madame Paruta is Basil 
Leonides' wife." 

" His wife? " Her voice sounded in her own 
ears like the far-away voice of a stranger, toneless 
but calm. " Is this true? Arc you certain? Have 
you proof?" 

*^ I have proof : I have seen a letter over his 
own signature." 

She held out her hand silently. 

^* I haven't it ; I could not bring it away without 
making explanations I dared not make till I had 
seen you." 

** It must be a lie : it simply is not possible that 
he should have gone straight from me, with his 
vows to me fresh on his lips to make her his wife, 
whatever her claims on him." 

*' It was not possible ; it was not so : she had been 
his wife years before; he has never seen her since 
he met you. He believed her dead. There had 
been quarrels and estrangement, and in the great 
earthquake, he being absent, she left her home, 
and a mutilated body dressed in her clothes was 
found and identified as hers. Truly, I believe he 
acted in good faith." 

" Thank God for that I " She put up her hands 
over her face. " Oh," she cried, looking up after 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 353 

a minute, ''I cannot understand it; what does it 
all mean? And the boy? " 

" The boy was not bom till after the separation, 
and Leonides cannot have known of his existence 
till lately." 

" And she left him in ignorance for nearly two 
years? The whole tale seems to me incredible." 

'' So it does to me. And yet I believe it is true. 
Had there been no real marriage he would not 
have acted as he did." 

His solid conviction brought her calmness. 
'*Go on," she said; "tell me all there is to tell; 
why she was silent, why she spoke, why he is not 
with her now." 

He took the last question first. " Did you sup- 
pose that he went back to her, that he could have 
gone back to her, after what had been? He " 

"Why, that telegram must have been from 
her," she broke in. 

" It was ; it was the first hint he had that she had 
not really died. He has provided liberally for her 
and desired that the boy might be sent to a friend 
of his to be educated." 

"He tried to deprive her of her child? But 
that was wicked." 

"Not as things were: he knew her, and she 
had gone on the stage as a dancer. Were we not 
trying to withdraw him from such a bringing up ? " 

The little fellow, finding himself unnoticed, 
grew restless and wriggled down off her knee. 
" Run away to Abbey," she said, and Peter took 



354 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

him downstairs and came back. She was sitting 
exactly as he left her, her hands clasped round her 
knee, staring into the fire. 

" Go on," she said again; "where is he? " 

" I wonder if you will be greatly astonished ; 
he is at Mount Athos." 

" Ah." 

Was it surprise, dismay, or a kind of relief that 
breathed in that low exclamation? 

" He said it in that letter Madame Paruta 
showed me; she said she did not believe it: I do." 

Anstace put up her hand to her head. " There 
are so many questions; I am in a maze; I don't 
know what to ask first." 

" You want to know, of course, why the mar- 
riage was kept secret. There was the initial error; 
Leonides had expectations from a rich uncle, who 
was to be kept in the dark because the girl was a 
Levantine, and, I should say, of not too reputable 
connections. The uncle was successfully deceived, 
but the money did not come till more than a year 
and a half after the separation; when it did, Ma- 
dame wished to share the spoil, so she decided to 
come to life again, but Leonides had left for Eng- 
land, and she could learn nothing about him till 
through someone in the Credit Lyonnais she heard 
of his approaching marriage to you. She found 
out his address in England and telegraphed, the 
wire arriving, as you know, just too late. Since 
then he has been lost to her as well as to you, save 
for the one letter in which he told her where he 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 355 

was, and promised to settle a maintenance on her, 
which he has since done.'' 

*' Oh, why didn't he tell me he had been married 
before ? Why did he leave me in the dark to learn 
it like this ? When that wire came if he had only 
confided in me 1 " she had risen and was walking 
about the room, but stopped suddenly in front of 
Peter. "Go away, please; I cannot talk now." 
And Peter silently went. 

Neither could she think; her mind seemed to 
have been thrown into a swirl of opposing cur- 
rents; a dizziness was before her eyes, a buzzing 
in her ears; she longed to clutch at something 
stable, at someone who could explain to her what 
she felt. Was it horror, relief, indignation, what ? 
For a moment she wished she had not driven Peter 
away; he would have been something calm and 
strong and wise to cling to. Yet she knew no one 
could help her till she had been able to lay hold of 
her own mind. 

A sound came up the stair, a quiet footfall with 
the clink of a teaspoon and the babble of a child- 
ish voice. The spiritual equilibrium may be wholly 
overthrown, but the trivial round of daily life, with 
its mealtimes and its bedtimes, must go on all the 
same. As yet Anstace felt she could not meet it; 
she shrank from the face of the child ; she did not 
know whether she most hated or most loved it. 
She hastened from the room and encountered the 
tray with George's little supper of bread and milk 
coming up the stairs with Abigail's kind, quiet face 



356 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

behind it, and a stumbling sound that showed the 
little one was climbing up, clinging to her gown; 
in her other hand she held a can of hot water and 
a flannel apron hung suggestively over her arm. 
Anstace turned towards her bedroom. 

^' Please give Georgie his supper and put him 
to bed for me to-night : I am going out for a little 
to — ^to see the moonlight on the sea." 

Abigail was of those wise ones who do not re- 
monstrate nor demand explanations of any un- 
usual course; unlike those irritating persons who 
always require a full explanation of your grief — 
by way of showing their sympathy. It was un- 
precedented that Mrs. Claude should go out so 
late in winter, just before Georgie's bedtime and 
her own supper; all the more likely she had some 
strong reason for doing so; the very air felt 
electric; Abigail was certain something had hap- 
pened, she kept her speculations to herself; so 
Anstace wrapped herself in her furs and went out 
unmolested. 

The moon had got above the sea-mist that lay 
low along the horizon, above the shoulder of the 
quarry hill, so it was not dangerous for one who 
knew the holes and pitfalls so well, and she took 
her way along the rough grey trades towards the 
sea. Neither was it cold, though a light hoarfrost 
silvered the ground, for the wind seemed holding 
its breath, and all was intensely still. It was a 
strange world through which she walked, unfa- 
miliar in this weird light, with mysterious, menac- 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 357 

ing shapes of linhay, scaur-heap, or lofty windlass, 
casting a gaunt shadow across the withered grass ; 
the silence, too, was of a different quality from the 
daytime silence, with its undertone of rustling wind 
and dashing wave, of lark song, and of the never- 
ending clink, clink of the mallets underground. 
Even the winds were in leash to-night, and only 
at long intervals the groundswell heaved at the 
foot of the crags. 

Anstace little heeded where she went, but her 
accustomed feet led her to a place of outlook, 
where by climbing a little way down she could 
reach a sheltered ledge, from which she could see 
the moon, clear of the hill, making a radiant path- 
way where far below her the sea broke white. 
She imagined she had come out to think undis- 
turbed, but she had walked and walked, and 
reached this spot before any definite thought had 
emerged from the chaos of feeling into which she 
had been thrown. 

At first the thought of the child was the mosW' 
insistent, the child that was Basil's, borne him by 
the woman whom from the first she had instinc- 
tively hated, and whom for this she could not for- 
give. Should she ever be able to endure again the 
sight of the little lovely face with Basil's eyes, 
with Basil's cleft chin? 

And with this the knowledge that she was not, 
had never been, could never be, his wife came home 
to her with a crushing weight that showed that 
through the long sickening suspense the thread of 



358 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

hope had never wholly broken. The vague theory 
she had formed that Basil might be mad and might 
yet recover, had been as a spar to cling to all these 
many months. She could hardly be said to recog- 
nise, for she had never doubted, that neither the 
long agony of silence nor this revelation had power 
to kill her love : for her he was still the one man 
in the world. Wounded almost to death by his 
failure before the tragedy that had overtaken him, 
it still rose and flung itself round him again in an 
access of pity. She understood him, his weakness 
as well as his strength; the sense of honour that 
was so mingled with the love of praise, the shrink- 
ing from difficulty which kept him from grappling 
with an intolerable situation and counselled flight. 
Partly, too, she comprehended the eager, beauty- 
loving nature that had made him yield easily to 
Grazia's seductive charm, with the swift recoil of 
satiety and self-disgust. Strangely enough jealousy 
of Grazia hardly moved Anstace; she hated her 
as an evil influence in Basil's life: she understood 
too well the slightness and impermanence of that 
influence for the bitterer forms of jealousy. She 
even pitied her with a strange detachment: the 
thing she could not forgive was that she was 
George's mother. 

The extraordinary, to most Englishmen, in- 
credible, step that Basil had taken was no per- 
plexity to her: the mystical vein in him she had 
always recognised, and it appealed to her. She 
knew that for him religion was not the ethical code. 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 359 

supported by traditional forms of worship, which 
it is for the Western mind; it was rather a life, 
mysterious, remote, into which one might be taken 
up in m(HnentS'of exaltation, or which one might 
enter either by the portal of death, or by that death- 
in-life, as it seems to many, the religious life. 
Peter Whitethome evidently believed he had taken 
that step ; so did she who knew him. Possibly it 
might be only a temporary refuge, but she believed 
it was final. Though it killed hope, it brought 
peace. 

That the fact of his having a wife already set 
her free from the vows she had taken in ignorance, 
hardly affected her. Free in fact, of course, she 
knew she was, but there would have to be some 
technical loosening of the formal bond, and she 
knew not whether it could be effected without 
charging him with the crime of attempted bigamy. 
No step, she was resolved, should be taken on her 
side. Free she might be in the eye of the law : in 
her own soul she was for ever bound. 

Did she resent the ruin he had brought into 
her life ? But what, after all, had he brought her 
but two things. Love and Sorrow, and for both, 
her life, with all its privations, had been the richer. 
She had had a cramped and narrow childhood and 
girlhood: Basil had taught her what love was in 
all its mystic meanings, and through the blackness 
of sorrow, separation, and denial, through the 
furnace, it had come, unearthly, pure. He and she 
had barely been saved from an involuntary crime, 



36o THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

but the love that was between them had not been 
slain, but raised rather to another plane. Out of 
the terrible revelation that had come to her she 
gathered one treasure : his love had not failed her 
after all. She kneeled on the rock and gave thanks 
for that. 

A drift of filmy clouds had come up over the 
moon, and the bright pathway was obscured. As 
Anstace climbed up again out of the hollow, rather 
by feeling than by sight, and set her face home- 
wards, she felt confused and bewildered; dimly 
she could make out the queer forms of the wind- 
lasses by which she must steer her course, but the 
path under her feet, with its ridges and humps, was 
hard to keep and still harder to walk steadily in. 
She was thankful to see a light ahead of her, mov- 
ing slowly to and fro. As she drew nearer a voice 
hailed her. 

"Is that you, Mrs. Claude? Mrs. Chinchen 
thought when the moon went in you might be 
puzzled to find your way back; she watched you 
go up this way, and it's none too safe among the 
old quarry holes. Will you take my arm ? " 

" Oh, Mr. Angel, I am ashamed to have given 
you all this trouble. Have you been waiting long 
forme?" 

** Not so very. I am not loath myself to walk 
about a bit on a still winter night; it seems to 
make the fireside snugger after. I walked slow," 
he added, with a smile, " lest you might take me 
for the phantom torch-bearer and run from me." 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 361 

He expressed no surprise at her vagary; he 
asked no explanation, and she offered none, but 
thankfully took the strong arm and let herself 
be guided homeward with the weary, exhausted 
feeling of a strayed child. Abigail was waiting 
for her in the hall without question or comment. 

" I have lighted a bit of fire in your bedroom," 
she said ; ^* as it was so cold, I thought you would 
sooner have a little supper in there when you have 
got your things off; I will bring up the tray di- 
rectly. Would you like me to take George to- 
night? *» 

She shook her head, and when Abigail crept in 
the last thing to make up the fire and see that all 
was well, she found Anstace had taken the child 
out of his cot and he was asleep in her arms, his 
curly head under her chin, his thumb in his mouth. 



Ill 

So Anstace slept, and rose next morning with a 
tranquillity of spirit that not only astonished Mrs. 
Chinchen, who was well aware that something 
disturbing had happened, but even surprised her- 
self. She knew of no reason that should keep her 
from attending to her daily task, so the pony was 
brought round as usual, and when in the middle 
of the morning Peter appeared at Mount Misery, 
thinking she might desire to take counsel with 
him, and anxious, moreover, to know what line 
to pursue as regarded Madame Paruta, he learned 
with surprise that she had gone to her work. 

" I was surprised, too," said Abigail, " for I 
could see something had upset her last night ; how- 
ever, she came down to breakfast in her habit just 
as usual, and went oif on Jerry without a word. 
She hadn^t been gone half an hour before a note 
come over for her from St. Rock's, and Mr. Con- 
roy, who brought it, said it was from Madame 
Paruta, and she had gone off the first thing this 
morning, he understood, to take the early train 
from Stonedge. I understood from him she had 
been up to some games and been turned out in 
something of a hurry. I have been in a quandary 
what to do about the note, for I expect it is to 
say Georgie is to be sent to meet hen Conroy had 

362 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 363 

to get back or he would have taken it on for 
me* 

" Give It me; I'll take it I want to see Mrs. 
Claude and Mr. Clyne, too." 

It was strange to Peter, after leaving her last 
night tossed in an agitation that could bear no 
word of sympathy, nor even a friendly presence,] 
to find her this morning in the tranquil atmosphere 
of the library, writing from Mr. Clyne's dictation 
the ancient, peaceful story of the founding of 
Pucksdown Abbey. It was Peter himself who 
seemed the most disturbed and excited. 

" I have just been at Mount Misery,'* he said, 
after brief apology to Mr. Clyne for his intrusion; 
*' I thought I should have found you there to-day. 
I have brought over a letter that had been sent by 
hand from St. Rock's; Mrs. Chinchen thought it 
might be of importance. Did you know Madame 
Paruta left to-day?" 

" Oh I Has she taken the boy? " 

" No, he was there playing with old Hiram's cats 
quite happily: she seems to have left him behind. 
Perhaps this letter will explain." 

She read her letter, Peter watching her the while 
with anxious eyes, and the other, who could not 
watch, drumming impatiently on the arm of his 
chair. Then she looked up, a curious smile in her 
eyes. 

^^ I have had a present. The little one, it seems, 
is in her way; she wants to be quit of him, so she 
proposes to board him with the Chinchens for the 



364 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

not very munificent sum of ten shillings a week; 
and she suggests, that as I seem to have taken a 
fancy to him, I might adopt him ; she is open to the 
offer. It is extraordinarily cool, but — and the 
queer thing is, she does not know ; am I bound to 
tell her?" 

" Certainly not, I should say." 

" What is it all about? " said Mr. Clync, testily. 
" Pray, don*t go adopting stray infants, Mrs. 
Claude, or I foresee Binamy will be deserted again. 
I should have thought Father lanstone and I were 
a sufficiently helpless couple to appeal to your 
maternal instincts. If the brat had been orphaned 
in the shipwreck I could have understood it, but 
what possible claim it should have on you I fail 
to see." 

^' Tell him," said Anstace, rising and looking at 
Peter. " Let me go away for a few minutes, 
please, and Mr. Whitethome will explain things; 
I can't talk about it quite yet." 

" Well," said Mr. Clyne impatiently, when the 
door of the turret room had softly closed upon her» 
" what is the mystery about? " 

'' The mystery is at an end; it is just that, and 
I was the one to whom the explanation came. I 
will tell you, but it is such an extraordinary, in- 
credible story I can hardly believe it myself: you 
will think I am romancing." 

" Go on. I suppose, by the way, we were right 
in our conjecture? " 

"We were; Mrs. Claude was — rather sh^ be- 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 365 

lieved herself to be, Countess Leonides. The ex- 
traordinary part is that the real Countess Leonides, 
the first wife, supposed by her husband to be dead, 
has been living here at St. Rock's these six weeks 
under the name of Madame Paruta." 

" Good Heavens 1 And the child? " 

'^ Is the son of the man whose wife Mrs. Claude 
believed herself to be. There is no doubt about 
that ; both say he is the Image of the father.'' 

" Then she is free." 

Peter was silent. 

^^ And this is the child that has just been thrown 
upon her hands I What an unheard-of complica- 
tion. And the woman did not know? " 

^' So far as I am aware she had not the faintest 
suspicion. She seems to have regarded Mrs. 
Claude as a charitably disposed young widow, 
living in retirement, who, having taken a fancy 
to the child, might be willing to relieve her of a 
burthen." 

" But what has become of the man ? He doesn't 
seem to be in it: has he committed suicide or 
what?" 

^^ Some people might consider it so : he has 
sought refuge in one of the strictest of Greek 
monasteries, whether with the intention of taking 
the vows and so cutting the Gordian knot, or as a 
temporary asylum, I don't know." 

" And what is to be the end of it? " 

'' Heaven knows : the man seems to have acted 
in a sort of blind despair, leaving her to bear the 



366 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

brunt of the awful situation as best she could. I 
don't know that suicide would not have been less 
selfish." 

^' Aye; it would have put an end to it, at any 
rate." 

" It is easy enough," said Peter, " to say what 
he ought to have done. He should have gone 
straight to Sir Henry, made a clean breast of it 
and courted the fullest inquiry." 

*'Of course he should; a man of strong fibre 
would. Well, I wonder if you or I would have 
had the courage." 

'^ One can well understand the recoil from such 
a confession. He had kept the first marriage dark, 
you see; he may not have been able to prove his 
entire belief that his wife was dead. They had 
lived unhappily; it may well be that he had be- 
lieved too readily without sufficient proof. De- 
spair of establishing his innocence may have over- 
whelmed him." 

" Aye, and one can see how the situation was 
complicated for him: to enter on a second mar- 
riage without revealing that there has been a first 
is, for a Greek, to commit sacrilege. To you 
Anglicans, accustomed to see the Sacrament of 
marriage slighted and profaned " — Peter uttered 
a protest which the other disregarded and went 
on — " to you the mere ceremony seems to have no 
binding force; to a devout member of the Orth- 
odox Communion, the crime would be not only 
against the woman, an outrage to her and her 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 367 

family, but blasphemy against God in profaning 
a Sacrament. Horror at this may well have driven 
him into voluntary exile. Now what will she do? " 
" I haven't an idea." 
"Where is her father?" 
" In Canada, I believe, busy about some petty 
little political mission. Her people seem to have 
been only too glad to shake her oS and forget an 
incident which was not only tragic, but squalid, and 
made them feel ridiculous." 
" Then we must help her." 
" Yes, but what ought to be done? " 
" Why, I suppose that what the Eastern Church 
has bound she can loose: this marriage, having 
been a mere form entered into under a mistake bn 
both sides, can surely be undone without proceed- 
ings for bigamy being entered into against him: 
a course which I can well understand Mrs. Claude 
would shrink from for her own sake as well as for 
his. We ought to take the opinion of a Greek 
lawyer on that head, as well as consult the head 
of the Greek Church in London, who performed 
the ceremony. No doubt the Church will inflict 
some penance on Leonides, but we have nothing 
to do with that. As to the boy, he had better be 
kept here at Mount Misery till it is seen whether 
the custody of him belongs to the father or the 
mother. Or, perhaps, he might be sent elsewhere : 
Mrs. Claude ought not to be saddled with him." 
" I believe she will wish to keep him." 
" Surely not, once the connection is utterly 



368 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

broken: why, he would be a continual reminder 
of all she has gone through." 

Peter shook his head. " I don't believe she 
wants, will ever want, to forget it,'* he said. 

"Well, welll Women have strange ways of 
looking at things. Will you call her, and we will 
ask her if we can be of any use to her: she may 
wish for advice or to be put in the hands of a 
trustworthy lawyer." 

Peter sprang up the gallery stairs and tapped 
on the door. As she came out he was struck anew 
with the curious change in her since yesterday ; her 
cheek to-day was nearly as white as her hair, and 
her eyes were set in dark saucers, but it was 
not that; it was a look on her face such as one 
sees in the faces of women who have come through 
a great crisis of pain and peril, a look that doctors 
and parsons see often enough: it means tension 
relaxed, thanksgiving too deep, too hushed for 
rejoicing. As she came softly down, Mr. Clyne, 
groping, found a chair and set it for her with a 
ceremony he did not often use. 

He did not address her by name, not knowing 
how she would wish to be called. 

"You are here alone," he began; "I under- 
stand your father is abroad, and we wish to say to 
you, Whitethorne and I, that we are entirely at 
your disposal if there is any way in which we can 
serve you, any action you wish taken on your be- 
half, or any advice we could give if you would care 
to take counsel with us." 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 369 

"You are very good; I have been thinking 
things over, and I do not see that there is anything 
to be done till I have written to Count Leonides." 

"You do not think it better," said Eldred 
Clyne tentatively, " to entrust the letter to a friend 
on your behalf? The relation is so peculiar, it 
might be wisest for you not to take any action 
yourself ? " 

" No," said Anstace decidedly; " I would 
rather deal with it myself. Please don't think me 
ungrateful." Then, turning to Peter, " Did you 
take the address of the Father to whose care the 
little boy was to be sent? " 

" I remember it : it was Father Demetrius, 
Aghio Strati, ^gean Islands. Do you think of 
sending him?" 

" Not without writing; but this Father De- 
metrius must know Basil's address; he would for- 
ward a letter sent to his care." 

" Meanwhile what is to be done with the 
child?" The question was Mr. Clyne's. 

" Surely he may stay with me. Only, one thing, 
ought I to keep him, leaving his mother in igno- 
rance who I am? " 

" Do you mean you wish to keep him ? " 

" I intend to keep him till I hear from his 
father." Mr. Clyne gave a grunt of protest and 
disapproval. " But the point is, am I bound to 
reveal my identity? " 

" Certainly not," was Eldred Clyne's unhesi- 
tating judgment, and Peter added, " Surely a 



370 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

woman who could forsake and deceive her hus- 
band all this time, and was ready to give up her 
child to the first stranger who took a fancy to 
him must have forfeited her rights in the matter." 

" Now there is a further and still more im- 
portant point," said the Squire; ''ought not steps 
to be taken to annul the ceremony through which 
you blindly went ? " 

" Not yet. I shall do nothing till I hear." 

Though she did not refuse, only postponed, the 
conviction went home to both men that she never 
intended to take those steps. 

" Then there is nothing we can do to help you ? 
The situation remains unchanged? " 

'' I don't see how it could be changed; the only 
difference is that now I know, whereas before I 
could only speculate and grope in the dark. I am 
thankful for the light. That is all the difference." 

It had seemed to the two men that the fifth 
act of the play, the unravelling of the plot, had 
come, and, behold, all was in statu quo. The de^ 
nouement was to bring no change, it seemed, in 
Anstace's life. At least, they were not to lose her; 
but mingled with gladness at this there was a 
strange sense of flatness. More remote than ever 
from them both, though staying within their ken, 
she stood beyond reach of help. They could 
neither free her nor restore her to her rightful 
place in the world. They might have done both, 
only she would not have it so. 



IV 

An hour had slowly gone on Its way and another 
was still more slowly following it, and Anstace sat 
on in front of her bureau, motionless, her eyes 
fixed on a blank sheet of paper before her, seeing 
nothing, not even in her mind's eye, of the words 
that must presently cover it. More than once 
Baby George had come scrabbling on the door un- 
heeded, and Abigail had followed and swept him 
out of the way, knowing that Mrs. Claude wanted 
to be undisturbed, but she, too, began to wonder 
that the letters should take so long. 

" Can you write ? " Georgie had asked before 
he had been banished from the room, standing 
on tiptoe to gaze longingly on the blank white sheet 
on which he would fain have been allowed to 
scrawl. He might well ask. Was ever letter 
quite so hard to write? How swiftly her pen had 
moved, how fast her words had flowed, in those 
imaginary letters with which she had tried to solace 
herself till the hopeless futility had quenched 
them. Had she, indeed, lost the power of putting 
her thoughts on paper in the long year and a quar- 
ter through which she had sent no letters, nothing 
beyond rare and brief post-cards to her father? 

She had said to her two friends she must write 

371 



372 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

herself, and she had to do it: no one else must 
come between her and Basil* Yet who was Basil ? 
what was he to her now? She threw down her 
pen at length and drew out those unsent letters 
from the secret drawer of the bureau, to which she 
had consigned them one by one as they were writ- 
ten, and read them through. Small help in them I 
To the ideal lover to whom they had been penned 
the impassioned words had come easily enough; 
she could not write such either to the husband of 
another woman, nor to the actual living man who 
had withdrawn himself into an isolation it might 
be sacrilege to break. 

How begin such a letter as she must write? 
To a husband? To a lover? To a stranger? 
For the second time the clock struck. Dipping 
her pen, she began without any form of com- 
mencement. 



At last I know the reason of ]rour forsaking me. To say I 
know is not to say I understand. Why, oh why, did yoa not 
tell me? Did you think I should not have the courage to meet 
the blow? I cannot believe it could have been from fear of con- 
sequences to yourself. You could not have realised what the sus- 
pense would be in which I have been wearing away these seven- 
teen months. I could have held up my head better if only yoa 
had told me. It adds to the bitterness that you never let me know 
3rou had been married before. But let that pass. I am not writ- 
ing to reproach you, but to tell you what will astonish you, that 
your little son is here with me. It came about I was going to 
say by a strange chance, only it is too strange to be chance. The 
boy and his mother were wrecked on this coast about six weeks 
ago^ and only yesterday I learned her identity. She has just left 
and does not know mine. An accident to her foot in being rescued 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 373 

kept her laid up at the Coastguard Station here, and I being the 
only person who knew anything of their language, have taken 
charge of the little boy, and when she went away she asked me to 
keep him. To her I am just an ordinary stranger who has taken 
a fancy to the child, and as she has an engagement as first 
dancer in a travelling company, she wished to leave him in the 
country. 

I have been living here alone in rooms since you went away. 
The last day she related her story to the curate of the parish who 
happened to know who I am, and he at once told me. It seems 
she had an idea that you were still in England, and was on her 
way to Southampton with the idea of finding you, when the vessel 
was wrecked : since, learning from someone in the Credit Lyonnais 
that you had really returned to Greece as you said, she resolved 
on going back to her profession. She was here under the name 
of Madame Paruta, and she told Mr. Whitethome that the com- 
pany would be at Genoa, and her manager's name is M. Rigaudon. 

Are you really at Mount Athos ? I trust you may find peace. 

Will you tell me what you wish about the little boy? His 
name is George, he is nearly three years old. 

AM9TACB Claude. 

P. S. — ^When you write please address Mrs. Claude. 



What a long letter 1 Yet how completely it 
failed to say anything of all that was in her heart. 
Could she send such a letter to the man she loved 
after all these bitter months of separation? Was 
there no kind thing, no pitiful thing that she could 
say? She bowed her head and wept bitter tears. 
Then she took another sheet and tried to pour out 
some of the ruth, the longing, the forgiveness, the 
sense of the hopeless tragedy of it all for him as 
well as for herself, which filled her heart to burst- 
ing. But when it was ended, she knew she dared 
not send it. What right had she to break in upon 



374 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

the cloistral calm he had chosen with words that 
should wake the remembrance of that which now 
it was twofold sin to remember? He had been 
trying to forget her ; he must try to forget. Should 
she make it harder? She laid it away among the 
unsent letters in the secret drawer. Then she 
added another brief postscript to the other: 

The name of the house may sound to you strange ; do not fancy 
I gave it in bitterness; it has borne that name a hundred years 
and more. 

Then she folded, addressed, and stamped it, 
sealing it with an antique signet ring that he had 
once given her, bearing the design of a torch re- 
versed. When all was done, something that was 
almost peace descended upon her. 

So used was she to long suspense, to hopeless 
watching daily renewed, that it would have seemed 
the brief week or two that must elapse before 
she could look for an answer to her letter would 
have passed easily, adding their little drop to the 
long sum of her waiting. Not so; they were the 
hardest of all to bear. She tried to hold herself 
in stillness, but the uncertainty when she might 
begin to watch gnawed at her patience. Would 
her letter go direct? Would it be sent on at once? 
What delays in transit between the islands might 
there not be? Were the monks at Mount Athos 
permitted to receive letters from the outer world? 
And if not, would this ghastly waiting go on for- 
ever? These questions hollowed her eyes and 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 375 

graved deep lines In her cheeks through the long 
listening nights, and days of mechanical work she 
forced herself to fulfil. 

Those twelve days were just the ones that bring 
in the spring; the slow smile was creeping over 
the stem headlands in the gold of blosscxning 
gorse, the tender sprouting green of the young 
bracken, before Anstace, standing at the gate, saw 
the rare postman coming over the hill, and knew 
that her letter was come. She had the foolish 
feeling that to hasteh to meet it was to imperil her 
chance, that if she did some malign miracle would 
yet snatch it from her. She stood motionless, but 
for the trembling that seemed to shake her very 
souL She held it in her hand; then as her eye 
fell on it for an instant her breath stopped. Was 
this, indeed, her letter? Were these the free, bold 
characters of the eager, passionate daily letters 
she used to get in the few brief absences that 
divided them in their short engagement? The 
thin paper, the postmarks, told whence it came, 
and, yes, his queer " d " with a Greek twist in it. 

She could not break the seal there in the open, 
where eyes might light on her, voices break in on 
her ear; she hurried up the stairs with it, and 
shut herself into her room. She felt breathless, 
almost suffocated, as she sat dizzily on the side 
of her bed. At last, at last it was open, and her 
eyes rested on the well-known signature- Like 
her own, it began abruptly : 



376 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

How shall I address you? My heart says, my wife, bat that 
I dare nevermore say, nor my beloved. Would you have me begin 
as to a stranger? though indeed you write as one. I linger thus 
because still I know not how to write what must be written, what 
I have tried vainly to write for a weary year. 

You say, why did I not tell you? Great Heavens I could I 
have turned to you and said, ** This message is from my wife: she 
is yet alive. This that we have been doing is a farce: the play 
is plajred out: I must bid you good-bye." Is that what you would 
have had me say? My sole idea was to fly. I took the jracht 
and put out to sea, hardly caring whither. Had I been able to 
come back,, it would not have been to tell you you were not my 
wife: of that you may be very sure. There came to me a ray of 
incredulity, else I should have put an end then and there to my 
horrible existence; I thought it just possible that the maid whose 
mutilated body I had taken for that of my wife might be per- 
sonating her for gain. I landed in France and hastened to the 
East to ascertain. I found the woman who sheltered Grazia, and 
at whose house the child was born, and made searching inquiry. 
The story was too well attested in every particular to leave room 
for doubt: there seemed only one thing I could do: die to the 
world. Dare I confess to you, so pure and innocent, the tempta- 
tion that assailed me to buy Grazia's silence, to return with what 
strange fiction I could invent, to build the house of my happiness 
over the dark, hollow grave of the past? Well, I did not. You 
know where I am. Understand, I fled, not from you, not from 
my wife, but from myself. 

You wish me peace: some day perhaps I may find it^ but I have 
much to expiate. You reproach me that I did not tell you I 
had been married before. In keeping silence I not only wronged 
you, but I committed sacrilege, since our Church only permits 
second marriages as a concession with maimed rites. I had kept 
it secret at the first for wordly advantage, I lacked the courage 
to confess it, and for this, as well as for the weakness that be- 
trajred me into it I have paid a bitter penalty. Madly I thought 
it expiated, I fancied that chapter of shame and misery was closed 
and might be as it had never been, and when I met and loved 
you I thought I was going to begin a new life; I wanted not 
even to remember the old. Yet even then that hateful money 
that I had got by fraud was as ashes in my moa^i and I dared 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 377 

not free myself from it, for then I must have confessed. Now 
I have made it over to the cousin who would have had it had my 
uncle known I had married against his wishes, so my relatives 
here have not been over eager to find me and bring me back to 
the world. I have nothing now but my little island, two-thirds 
of the revenue of which I have settled on my wife with reversion 
to my son. There should be also the estate of my English grand- 
mother. I learned quite lately of her death, and I understand 
that her executors have been advertising for me. I have not an- 
swered hitherto^ but now for the boy's sake my claim ought to be 
made good. I intend to take steps to do this. 

Whatever action may be necessary to free you from the vows 
we took in ignorance, I am ready for, even if needful to stand 
trial for the attempted crime of a fraudulent marriage; though 
I am innocent of it in intention as I think you will believe. I 
dare not ask your pardon: I have wrecked your fair young life. 
If you could forgive me, I could never forgive myself. 

I like to think you have my son. I want to see hinL I think 
I shall place him in the school at Xalchi where I was myself; it 
is the best we have here; only he must be over young for school 
yet I do not intend to let his mother bring him up. I cannot 
fetch him, but it mighty I think, be possible to send him out in 
charge of one of the clerks of the Credit Lyonnais who are con- 
stantly passing to and fro^ if you would be so good as to engage 
a nurse for him. 

How futile, how inadequate this letter seems I I wanted to 
make full cqpfesslon from the beginning, but I am dumb. 

May God make up to you for all the evil I have done you. 

Yours, 

Basil Leonxdbs. 

All day long Anstace sat with her letter in her 
hand or on her knee, reading and re-reading it, or 
reading the many things it did not tell in the 
glowing hollows of the fire. Inadequate, futile? 
Perhaps; but its absolute finality brought peace. 
Next to hopes fulfilled hopes utterly crushed are 
besty for then the long agony of hope deferred is 



378 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

over. All was ended now, but there was more of 
resignation than of grief in the rain of tears that 
fell upon the letter. 

The strange step that Basil had taken may have 
seemed at first hardly comprehensible to Anstace's 
home-bred notions, but after a little her will con- 
sented to his choice. The monkish ideal has so 
vanished from the modem mind that for a man to 
seek refuge from the world in a monastery seems 
an anachronism, incredible, almost unreal. Yet 
the fact remained: this was what he had done. 
She could bear to think of him there, remote, 
for ever gone out of her life, as if dead. It would 
have been intolerable to picture him returned to 
Grazia : human nature would have rebelled against 
that. She did not think he would repent his choice ; 
she knew that to him the spiritual world was real, 
as it is real to very few Englishmen, whose con- 
duct might be far more correct than his. 

Abigail came and went softly, ministering to 
her, mending the fire, bringing her meals, and 
keeping the child out of the way, and as the day 
slowly wore to evening, she grew tranquil. She 
did not go to her work that day, neither did she 
send; Binamy and its master were wholly for- 
gotten. 

In the early dusk Peter came and encountered 
Father lanstone at the gate, his hand upon the 
latch. 

" You were going to call on Mrs. Claude ? 
Then I won't go up." 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 379 

"No, no/' said the Father; "you go. I only 
came to inquire because she did not come to 
Binamy to-day, so we wondered ^* 

" Ah 1 Then her letter is come ; it is just about 
the time she looked for it. Better, perhaps, we 
neither of us go in, only leave a message." 

" Best so," agreed the Father, as Mrs. Chin- 
chen opened the door. 

She looked doubtfully at the visitors. Mrs. 
Claude was well, she said, and paused. " I'll tell 
her you are here," she added. 

" Do so," said Peter, turning away, " but only 
to inquire; not to disturb her on any account." 

" But wait a moment, please, lest she should 
have any word to send." And she left them in the 
hall. 

" My dear," she said, entering softly, " here's 
Father lanstone come to inquire for you ; I don't 
think we sent up a message, did we? And Mr. 
Peter, too. What shall I tell them ? " 

"Why, I forgot all about my work! Do you 
know, in some strange way it seemed as if time 
stopped altogether since I saw the postman com- 
ing over the hill. I suppose it must be evening 
now. Please ask the Father to make my excuses 
to Mr. Clyne, and say I had an important letter: 
he will understand. Say I will be there as usual 
to-morrow — or rather tell it all to Mr. White- 
thome : the Father will forget. Come back to me 
when they are gone," she called as Abigail shut 
the doon 



38o THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

When she returned Anstace put out her hand 
and drew her down on her knees on the hearth- 
rug beside her. " That letter," she said, " perhaps 
you guessed, was from him — -from the man that 
should have been my husband/' And hiding her 
eyes on the comforting shoulder, she told the rest 
of the story, as she had told the first mysterious 
half, to those sympathising ears. 



Next day saw Anstace quietly at work again upon 
her catalogue. That morning Mr. Clyne asked 
for no writing nor reading aloud: no one pestered 
her with any questions, only now and again Father 
lanstone fluttered in and out to seek a book, and 
once laid his kind old hand on hers in mute token 
of sympathy. The hush that pervaded the great, 
dim room, the sound of murmuring bees in the 
crocus chalices outside, the clip of the shears as 
the gardener moulded and trimmed the straggling 
yew peacocks at the end of the terrace, the mo- 
notony of her task, all bathed the tired spirit as 
in a well of peace; by the aftemocm her mind 
began to move again and grapple with decisions. 

She had asked to be excused from lunch, and 
some was brought her by the automatic Timpson on 
a tray. Before she left she sent word to Mr. Clyne 
that she would like to speak to him, and he came 
himself to the library. 

" Now, Mrs. Claude," he said, when he had 
come to an anchor in his usual chair, ** I am very 
much at your service. Do not scruple to make use 
of me if you want anyone to represent you, or to 
take any steps on your behalf." 

" Thank you very much, but I do not want any- 
thing done; I only want to tell you about it. I 

381 



382 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

have had the letter I was expecting from Count 
Leonides, and it is all true that was told to Mr. 
Whitethome. The marriage was legal and valid: 
he acknowledges it and has provided for her. He 
did not go back to her ; he does not mean to : he has 
become a monk." 

"Well, well I— and you?" 

** Of course that ceremony was invalid. I sec 
no reason why I should not go on here as I have 
been doing ; I have no wish to return to my father's 
house, and I do not think he will wish to have 
me. 

A far-away light glimmered before Eldred 
Clyne's mental vision. It dazzled him. Was it 
a star, or only a will-o'-the-wisp? He would not 
imperil it by trying to make too 'sure. His tone 
was very business-like as he said : 

" I suppose there will be certain legal formalities 
to be gone through? You will wish to consult a 
lawyer? " 

" No ; I do not see the necessity for me to do 
anything of the kind. What was done was 
essentially invalid, I know ; that is surely enough." 

" I see you shrink from publicity, very naturally, 
and I think there need be none; but, surely, you 
ought to be perfectly free, in case " 

" I don't want to discuss that part of it. There 
is another difficulty that troubles me, about which 
I wanted to consult you. Count Leonides wants 
his little son sent out to him to be put to school 
at Xalchi. School I for a baby not much more than 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 383 

three. He suggests his being sent out with some 
strange nurse to look after him in the charge of a 
bank clerk I How could I possibly send the little 
creature like a parcel? Besides, supposing his 
mother gets wind of it, and anything done through 
the Credit Lyonnais is likely to get round to her, 
she might get hold of him in order to extort more 
money for herself as the price of giving him up. 
I think it is quite likely by the way she spoke of 
him to Mr. Whitethorne. It is evident to me I 
must take him out myself, so I was going to ask 
leave of absence for a few weeks, a month, 
perfiaps." 

" And do you suppose you would be able to 
frustrate any determined plot to get hold of the 
child? You have no legal claim on him, you 
know." 

" I know, but I would protect him, hide him 
some way. And when his father has seen him, I 
mean to get him to appoint me his son's legal 
guardian, and let me bring him back and have the 
charge of him, at least, till he is of a reasonable 
age for school. Do you see ? " 

*^ I fail to see that there is any obligation on you 
to do anything in the matter." 

"Obligation? No." 

There was a minute's silence. That light was 
growing very dim. Then Mr. Clyne spoke again : 

" Do you mean to see the man? " 

" I don't know: probably not; if he cannot leave 
Mount Athos, of course not. I know that we 



384 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

can never be anything to one another again; 
that chapter is closed ; but I am quite satisfied that 
he acted in ignorance and in all honesty, and I 
think " — ^her voice failed a little — " I think, if Ke 
has not taken vows that would preclude his seeing 
me, we could both go our separate ways more 
bravely if we had once stood face to face." 

** I suppose," he said slowly; " — you will think 
me impertinent, I am afraid, but you are so alone 
here — I suppose you will not go until you have 
heard from your father? " 

'^ Yes, I shall. He is in Canada still. I shall 
write, of course, but I shall make a point of start- 
ing before I could get an answer. He is a man 
who views everything from the conventional stand- 
point. I know quite well he would forbid me 
to go." 

" And you expect me to countenance it? What 
if I refuse leave of absence? " 

" It would be very unlike you. And I don't 
want to make the return move." 

" You mean if I did you would give me notice? " 

" Don't put it into words. I would much rather 
have your support and countenance, but if I can- 
not '' 

Eldred Clyne played a long imaginary piece of 
music on his knees before he answered. Then he 
lifted his head and spoke rather suddenly: 

" Would starting in a fortnight's time be soon 
enough for you? " 

"Yes, I think so; why?" 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 385 

" Because, if so, I could take you myself, and 
I defy Madame Paruta to get the baby out of our 
clutches, once on board my yacht. You need not 
be alarmed; Mrs. Pococke shall go to play pro- 
priety. Long ago I promised to take her a cruise 
in the Mediterranean, but it was put off for one 
cause or another; now she shall make up for it by 
extending her cruise to the shores of Greece and 
up among the islands.'' 

"But will she go?" 

" She shall," he said briefly. " Besides she will 
like it; she is very fond of sailing, the taste runs 
in the family. I don't propose," he added with a 
laugh, " to pack you all, baby included, into the 
Silence; I have a steam yacht of a hundred and 
twenty tons, with very decent little staterooms in 
which you will be at least as comfortable as you 
would be either struggling half across Europe in 
the Orient express or in a Messageries boat, to 
say nothing of the difficulties you might have in 
getting your charge safely through. It shall not 
be later than the time I said, for fear of complica- 
tions arising meantime, but the yacht has been laid 
up in Goodenough's yard at Lymedale for some 
time, and it will take quite two weeks to fit her for 
sea. Well, what do you say ? " 

" I don't know what to say. You are too over- 
whelmingly good to me. Yet you must not think 
me ungrateful if I say I cannot possibly accept, 
save on one condition." 

He looked uneasily at her. " You do not trust 



386 THE, BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

me," he said, " but you may surely trust yourself 
with Cousin Felicia." 

^^ You know," said Anstace, hesitating, and look- 
ing down shamefaced, '' the understanding on 
which I came back to work ? My condition is that 
that understanding must be regarded as perma- 
nently binding. Oh — " she broke ofif — " how out- 
rageous it seems that I should be making terms 
with you for accepting so generous an offer, but 
you do understand, don*t you ? " 

" I understand, and I accept your terms." 

So that light had been but a will-o*-the-wisp 
after all. 

As Jerry climbed up out of the wooded hollow 
of the Golden Bowl he was surprised to find him- 
self turned seawards along the steep, stony track 
that led out to the headland of St. Rock's. The 
lazy little animal was quite indignant; having but 
just come out of his luxurious quarters in the Bin- 
amy stables, he conceived himself entitled to go 
straight home, to the snug stone linhay at Mount 
Misery; his mistress, however, was firm with 
him. 

There was one person she felt who must be told 
her story by herself; the one who had received her 
with such generous, unquestioning hospitality when 
fate had cast her up, a stranger and a mystery, on 
the door-stone of the Coastguard Station. It would 
be ungrateful to let Brenda and the Chief Officer 
learn by chance the strange uncoiling of the secret. 
She knew it would be hard to tell them, much, 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 387 

much harder than to tell Abigail or Mr. Clyne, 
and she suffered Jerry to take his own time, pick- 
ing his cautious away among the stones, while she 
tried to pick hers among all conceivable ways of 
unfolding her tale: it would sound, she knew, so 
melodramatic, so incredible. 

Bartlemy saw her coming from the Look-out, 
and came down to meet her at the gate and take 
Jerry. 

" Shall I put him up, Mrs. Claude? " he asked, 
as he helped her to dismount, ** or just tie him to 
the fence?" 

'* Oh, put him up, please ; I am come to tea, if 
Brenda will have me." 

" That's right, ma'am. Why, you haven't been 
near us in a month o' Sundays, as the saying is. 
The wife will be pleased." 

Anstace went into the familiar kitchen, and 
while she bent over the sofa and kissed Brenda, 
and then stood slowly pulling off her riding gloves, 
she was still considering the knotty question, how 
is one to plunge into so strange a tale and expect 
to be believed ? Brenda's quick eye soon perceived 
that her visitor had something on her mind ; some- 
thing had happened. It was not that she looked 
ill, though in spite of her ride through the fresh 
evening air her face was colourless and transpar- 
ent, but she had the look that nurses describe as 
*^ all eyes." Brenda put up a hand and drew her 
down to the low basket chair beside the couch. 

" Something has happened to you," she said. 



388 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" Tell me about it, won't you, before Toby comes 
back? Wasn't I to be your sister? " 

** Yes, dear," said Anstace, kissing her again. 
" I came on purpose to tell you, and I don't know 
how to begin." 

" Has Mr. Claude come back? " whispered 
Brenda. 

" Yes, and no. That is, there is no Mr. Claude 
at all. That was my own second name I took for 
a time — It will be for always now, I think. He, 
my husband, as I thought, as he was to have been, 
is found, but he is not really, never can be, that to 
me, though we were truly married in church." 

Brenda seized her hands in a sympathetic grip. 
" Oh, you poor dear 1 Tell me more." 

" I am trying to. When Madame Paruta was 
here, did she ever mention her husband to you ? " 

" Oh, yes ; a wicked foreign prince or count, or 
something, who had deserted her and her child, 
and tried to marry an Englishwoman. What has 
that to do with it? " Brenda's eyes grew round. 

'* I was that Englishwoman. Stop I He was 
not wicked, but deceived: the desertion was the 
other way. She pretended to have been killed in 
the earthquake, that she might run away and go 
on the stage. He honestly believed her dead, and 
it was not till she learned, not only that he intended 
to marry, but that he had inherited a fortune, that 
she revealed herself. She telegraphed, and her 
message reached him just as we got back from the 
church where we had been married." 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 389 

" Why I " cried Brenda, " I remember that story 
being in the papers. To think of its having been 
you after all, and we never guessed," 

** It was some weeks, you see, before I came to 
you; but Mr. Whitethome guessed, and Mr. 
Clyne." 

The little woman was rather annoyed at having 
been forestalled. " Dear me I " she cried, " fancy 
shock-headed Peter being sharper than me I Well, 
now, at any rate this prince, or whatever he is, can 
divorce her, and you can be married over again, 
and live happy ever after, like the story-books." 
And she clapped her hands. "Why, Anstace? 
Why? " she broke out, for Anstace shook her head 
silently. 

Presently, when she had regained command of 
her voice, she said, "No, that can never be; his 
church — and it is mine, too— knows no such thing 
as divorce." 

" What I You don't mean that he will have to 
go back to her, that little baggage?" 

" No, never. Marriage is at an end for both of 
us. He has gone back to his own country and 
become a monk." 

"Oh, but that's all nonsense; people don't do 
those sort of things in these days. There'll be 
some way of getting him out, you'll see. May I 
tell Toby? " as Bartlemy came in with the kettle 
and proceeded to lay the table in his quick, handy 
way. 

Anstace nodded, and she poured out the story 



390 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

in an excited stream, very unlike the brief, difficult 
utterances in which it had been told to her, inter- 
spersing her narrative with appeals to her Toby 
to " talk to Anstace, tell her how foolish it all is." 

"Well, Birdie," said Bartlemy, pausing, with 
the loaf in one hand and the knife in the other, 
when she stopped for breath, " I've been about the 
world a bit, and Fve seen folks have different no- 
tions and different ways of living, and it seems to 
me everybody's got to live his own life his own 
way." Birdie sighed, but she never disputed the 
oracular conclusions of her lord and master. Pres- 
ently she broke out on a fresh theme : 

" But the little boy 1 He's at Mount Misery 
now, isn't he? Whatever shall you do with him, 
Anstace ? " 

" He is Basil's boy," said Anstace. " In a way 
he is mine, for his mother gave him up to me when 
she went away, and I don't mean to part with him 
if I can help it. I shall keep him altogether if I 
may, but I must first take him out for his father 



to see." 



"WeUl" cried Brenda; "I must say- 



It 



But she did not, for a glance at her husband sealed 
her lips. 

Folly and madness. That would be the verdict 
even of the kindly and friendly world, she could 
see. Brenda's outspoken, her husband's silent, dis- 
approval expressed pretty well what the average 
opinion of her doings would be. Probably that of 
her own family would be much the same. 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 391 

Coming home, she encountered Peter by the 
Priest's Way. She held out her hand. " Walk a 
little way with me," she said ; '' I have so much to 
tell you. It is easier to go slow on Jerry than on 
the bicycle." 

His face looked grave, and she had the chill 
sense that there was more disapproval in store for 
her. Was she perhaps wrong after all? 

" I have just been at Binamy," he said, " and 
heard of your plan from Mr. Clyne." 

"And you condenm me? Well, I suppose I 
ought not to wonder; my own people I know will 
disapprove utterly, and Mr. Clyne, though he is 
so good, does not like it. Somehow I fancied you 
would have understood." 

His hand lightly touched hers that rested on 
Jerry's mane. 

'* I do, and I say Go ; you will be more at peace 
afterwards." He paused, and presently added, 
with a shame-faced laugh, " Would you believe I 
was glum from a childish grudge that Clyne should 
be able to take you, to make things easy for you, 
while I, who would gladly go on foot across 
Europe if that would serve you, should be tied 
here and able to give you nothing but a God- 
speed." 

Anstace looked at him with swimming eyes and 
held out her hand. 

" In spite of everything," she said, " I still am 
rich in having two such friends." 



VI 

The Seaflower was speeding on her eastward 
road. She had rounded Cape Matapan the even- 
ing before, the snow crests of Taygetus gleaming 
with a rosy light, and all day had been threading 
her way amongst the clustering islands of the archi- 
pelago. Anstace had found herself a nook for- 
ward, where only the coil of rope she sat on, the 
plank or two under her feet, and a low scrap of 
bulwark divided her from the sea and sky between 
which she swung. The rushing sound of the wind 
in the cordage alone made her aware of the white 
wings behind her, bearing her on to her goal. For 
since the wind had freshened the skipper had 
crowded all sail and let down his fires, for the 
master liked it best so. Before her the jacinth 
wall parted as the bows dipped, and as they rose 
again streamed right and left, covered with a 
tracery as of finest lace. 

She had not found much time for dreaming yet, 
for the child's nurse, after the manner of her kind, 
had been sick and useless most of the voyage, and 
Anstace had had to nurse her as well as to keep a 
continual watchful eye on the vagaries of the boy: 
there was no telling whither his inquisitive mind 
and active little feet might bear him. 

Mrs. Pococke, too, claimed a good deal of time. 
Feeling sure that the excellent Miss Bilsby would 

39a 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 393 

prove but an indifferent sailor, she had wisely left 
her ashore, and looked to Anstace for a certain 
amount of companionship. So long mornings were 
spent in deck chairs in the shelter, knitting and 
talking, and the mutual liking grew apace. The 
attitude of the elder lady was rather amusing ; she 
was so evidently drawn to Mrs. Claude herself, 
while utterly disapproving of the position. 

For Mr. Clyne Anstace felt she could never do 
enough, and his favourite amusement was to pace 
the deck on her arm, while she described to him 
all that they passed. It was but seldom that a day 
brought nothing but a distant sail or the water- 
spout of a grampus ; their course led them in sight 
of many a fair coast, Corsica and Sardinia, the far- 
away rock of Elba, the beautiful historic shores of 
Sicily, almost more Greek than Greece itself, with 
Etna languidly smoking on the horizon. Then, 
after a day of open water, the deeply indented 
promontories of the Morea, with its distant peaks 
paiAted in rosy light against the sky. 

Anstace tried to describe it all in language as 
graphic as she could command, and she had her 
reward when sometimes he would refer to " what 
we saw yesterday, when we passed so-and-so," 
showing that he had been able to realise the scene 
with the inward vision which is the bliss of those 
whose bodily eyes are closed. Cousin Felicia could 
never have done this for him ; guide-book phrases 
always came to her lips when she tried to enlarge 
on what was to be seen. She was with him this 



394 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

evening, however, in the cabin, playing dominoes 
with raised knobs that he could feel, and Georgie 
was in bed. 

The jasper of the sea to westward, where the 
sun had just dipped below the verge, was passing 
into opal, and in the opal swam faint amethyst 
shapes, some large and towering, some quite little, 
mere rocks lifted above the sea. They loomed 
ahead in misty purple, swiftly took shape, resolved 
into cliff and hollow, white beach and stooping 
grove, with here and there white walls and turrets 
peeping from among the trees; or sometimes a 
cataract of gleaming water, leaping down the hill- 
side, as if eager to meet the oncoming vessel. Be- 
fore they had emerged beyond the stage of places 
half seen in dreams they faded again, and the 
evening mists swallowed them up as though they 
had been but an unreal phantasy. 

One came nearer, bathed in a rosy glow. An- 
stace could distinguish a little winding path going 
up from a small landing-stage towards a house 
built on a terrace, whence it showed up clear against 
the background of dark trees, ilex, and cypress; 
in this magic light of evening it looked as it were 
built of translucent gold; so clear was it she could 
see even the orange trees standing in green tubs 
along the terrace edge, and the bougain villea that 
hung in a heavy purple mass over the marble waU. 
The rich scents of evening were wafted to her 
nostrils on the breeze. 

A sailor was near her, making fast some ropes ; 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 395 

she turned to him. ^^ How is that island called? " 
she asked. 

^^That, madame, is Amygdala; it is quite a 
little one, of no consequence, only it chances to be 
near our course, so it shows up so plain." 

For a moment Anstace let her face drop into her 
hands : when she raised it again an angle of jutting 
rock had already shut out the fair vision, and round 
the cliffs that towered to the northwest the sea- 
birds were wailing before they settled for the 
night. Soon that, too, was but a lilac cloud far 
behind them. 

That, then, was to have been her home. So 
had the vision of her married life gleamed on her 
sight and been swallowed up in the blackness of 
mystery. 

Imperceptibly the light changed; now, instead 
of glow, there was a chill pallor creeping over sea 
and islands: the opal was turning to a dull, dim 
blue, there were no stag's yet, though a sickle- 
shaped moon was slowly gaining light. The whole 
world looked wan. The same sailor whom she 
had questioned just now came back, and, resting 
his knee on the coil of rope behind her, offered his 
spyglass. 

'^ Would madame like to see the hermit? It 
is hardly too dark. There, don't you see, crouch- 
ing just at the entrance to that cave? He lives 
there quite alone. Passing vessels sometimes stop 
and give him food, but we are too late this evening 
to leave him anything.'' 



396 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

Anstace saw a steep, rocky shore, with a little 
inlet, and dark, dense woods above that looked as 
if they might be the lair of wild beasts. She could 
just make out the entrance to a cave, not very 
much above the sea, and could faintly distinguish 
the figure of an aged man, sitting on a stone, watch- 
ing the vessel with his hand over his eyes. 

" But what becomes of him in rough weather, 
when no vessels can put in? " 

'' Oh, he's all right; he has his goats, and makes 
goat's milk cheese, and there are nuts and a few 
roots he grows. He is a very aged man ; they say 
he has been there fifty years. He's used to it; I 
expect he is content enough. If you was to bring 
him away he'd be miserable." 

The man took his glass again and sauntered back 
to his place. 

Anstace mused and marvelled. Content? Aye, 
like enough ; but was he really nearer God in that 
lonesome solitude than down amongst his fellows, 
doing his day's work? 



VII 

Anstace was kneeling alone before the Icon on 
the heavy gilded Iconostasis In a little white-washed 
chapel on the hill at Aghio Strati. She had been 
here nearly half an hour, and gradually the hush 
was stealing over her spirit. When she came in 
she had been shaking in every limb at the thought 
of the meeting before her, but now she had ceased 
to think about herself. Father Demetrius had met 
her, had told her that Brother Basil wished to see 
her, and would be there shortly, and had brought 
her here to wait. The little boy was left to play 
in the garden outside, in charge of his nurse. 

She had feared and distrusted herself, had 
dreaded the meeting unspeakably, while she longed 
for it; but now a calmness had come upon her. 
Desire had changed into a new feeling; not indif- 
ference, not coldness, not resentment, but a sense 
that if he and she belonged to each other it was 
not according to this world ; the broken arc would 
never reunite here: perchance in a higher life they 
might find the perfect round. The waiting which 
had seemed at first so intolerable had after all 
proved a help. 

The yacht lay at anchor in a little harbour at 
Aghio Strati, and Mr. Clyne had decided that they 

397 



398 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

should remain on board rather than risk the accom- 
modation of a Greek hostelry in so out-of-the-way 
a spot. A messenger had been sent up to the 
monastery that crowned the hill, bearing letters 
from Anstace, one for Father Demetrius, announ- 
cing her coming and its motive, one to be forwarded 
to Leonides. In neither had she asked for an inter- 
view, but simply stated that she had brought the 
boy. Through two days of suspense she waited, 
tormenting herself with the assurance that even if 
Basil would yield to her request to keep the child, 
Father Demetrius would be certain to insist on 
tearing her treasure from her to immure him in a 
seminary, as a Western monk would surely have 
done in a like case. 

At last word had come: Leonides was on his 
way from Mount Athos, and would meet her at 
Aghio Strati, and she was bidden to betake herself 
with the boy to the monastery, there to await his 
coming. He had not written himself ; the message 
had, come from the Father. These waiting times 
were the hardest of all: Father Demetrius had 
done well in bidding her keep her vigil in the 
church. Presently the sound of a quiet footfall 
made her raise her head. The old man was beck- 
oning to her. 

" He has come,'* he said, as they reached the 
open air; " this way, please." 

As they crossed a garden, sloping seaward, gay 
with the vivid blossoms of the pomegranate, red 
against the shimmering blue, he stopped to pat the 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 399 

head of little George, who was trying to frighten 
the flashing green lizards out of their holes. 

" So this is the little one, poor little man,** he 
said ; ^' why, he is but a baby I Brother Basil spoke 
of keeping him here till he could send him to school 
at Xalchi. I don't think we can make a little 
monk of him yet.'* 

"Don't you think I might keep him?** said 
Anstace, eagerly ; " at least till he is big enough 
to go to school? You won't say anything against 
it if his father will let me have him? " 

" Surely not," said the monk, with a laugh in 
his shaggy beard. "We have no nursery up 
there," as he pointed to the rows of narrow win- 
dows above them. 

" Stay with Nanna a few minutes, my pet,** 
said Anstace, gently disengaging the little fingers 
that twined themselves into her gown. She kissed 
him and followed her guide round the comer of 
the monastic buildings, out of the sunlit garden on 
to a shadowed terrace bordered with dark ilex, 
on the one hand a frowning wall pierced with rows 
of monotonous little windows, and on the other a 
low, broad-topped rampart, where the hill fell 
away abruptly to a deep ravine. 

A solitary figure stood there, a tall, gaunt, 
bearded monk, wearing a long black cassock and 
the curious high-crowned, brimless hat, called a 
kalimafki. He stood perfectly still, his arms 
folded inside his loose sleeves. She felt a little 
afraid of him, and wished Basil would come 



400 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

quickly. Father Demetrius had left her, and she 
moved forward uncertainly, hardly feeling the 
ground beneath her feet. Then the monk raised 
his head and turned towards her. 

" Anstace 1 " he cried, in his well-remembered 
tones, '^ Oh, Anstace 1 " with a sound of distressed 
surprise. 

" Am I, too, so changed, then? " she said. ** Of 
course, my hair; I forgot. If I had thought it 
would have wounded you so to see it I would have 
dyed it," with a little tremulous laugh. 

'' And that is my work," he said, regarding her 
with grieved eyes. 

The little incident, the naturalness of his excla- 
mation, did more to make her realise him, to break 
the ice between them, and make them able to look 
at, to speak to, one another than lengthy explana- 
tions would have done. 

He led her to the low wall, which offered a con- 
venient seat, and sat down himself a little way off, 
but he did not take her hand. 

She looked at him, recognising, yet unrecognis- 
ing. The eyes from which his very soul used to 
look into hers were veiled and downcast; only she 
caught the gleam of the curiously blue whites, so 
like the child's, when he glanced at her. Yes, they 
were Basil's eyes, and the long, delicately chiselled 
nose, the small head, the broad-based, tapering 
throat, were his ; yet in some strange way she felt 
as if she had never seen this man before. The 
strange habit, the long, ragged beard and hair, so 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 401 

unlike the close-trimmed head of her remembrance, 
had a significance, and gave her, as little things 
will, a realisation of his remoteness such as no 
words could have achieved. She wondered was he 
seeing, as she was, the crowded London drawing- 
room, the gay dresses, the champagne glasses, he 
and she in the midst together ; and that bit of thin 
pink paper that dropped between them ? 

For a minute she could not find voice, and he 
seemed to have lost the habit of speech. At last 
she spoke, hurriedly: 

" I have brought your little boy; I wanted to 
ask you about him — only it was right you should 
see him first. I will fetch him." 

She half rose, but he stayed her with a gesture. 

" Let be a few minutes ; the child will be playing 
happily enough. I want you first. I want to tell 
you things — if I can. How wonderfully good it 
was of you to come ! " He paused a minute or 
two, then resumed, '^ I don't suppose I could make 
you understand how impossible it was for me to 
see you, even to write, when the blow fell ; I was, 
as it were, mad. To stand one minute side by side, 
man and wife, you and I, and the next minute this 
awful spectre stood between. How dared I see 
you ? How could I tell you ? I had an insane idea 
that if I could die utterly to the world you would 
come to believe me dead: it would be as if you 
were my widow, and by and bye you would begin 
your life again." 

** You thought I could? " she put in, softly. 



402 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" I tried to think so; I tried hard to think so. 
Of the practical difficulties my disappearance cre- 
ated, the way it left all business affairs at a dead- 
lock, truly I never thought till lately, since I have 
been getting letters from a friend of — of Madame 
Zarastra, as she was called — ^who wrote on her 
behalf about settlements. He was a business ac- 
quaintance of mine also, and he knew something, 
but was not aware till just lately that it was a legal 
connection. Had anyone known of my first mar- 
riage, I could not have been kept so long in ignor- 
ance that my wife lived." 

" And you had never the faintest suspicion? " 

He looked at her reproachfully. " Never. How 
could I ? When I returned to Constantinople after 
the earthquake, I found the villa at Proti 
deserted, and they showed me the body of a 
woman just her height, with face horribly muti- 
lated, quite past recognition, wearing the Turkish 
clothes I had good reason to remember, for I had 
often been angry with her for putting them on to 
go to the bazaar. Moreover, in the pocket was a 
memorandum paper of things to be purchased in 
her own writing. What could I think? It seemed 
no further proof was needed. I gave up the villa 
and went away ; I resolved to expunge that blotted 
chapter from my life altogether. And then I met 
you, and life took on a new meaning for me. But 
Fate mocked me: my sin rose up and avenged 
itself on me." 

There was one question Anstace longed to ask, 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 403 

but dared not. She hesitated, watching the lithe 
green lizards flash In and out of the crevices In 
the wall. Perhaps he read It In her eyes, for he 
said, " What Is it? " as though she had spoken. 

" Did you never love her? " 

" Love 1 Why must we use the one word to 
express feelings far as the poles asunder? I don't 
suppose you could understand a bit what I felt; 
the intoxication of her beauty and of something 
that is not beauty, and yet is more potent still, the 
fever of the senses, the desire to gratify them at 
any cost, and then the sickening reaction. When 
suddenly what I wanted was flung Into my hand, I 
should have been more than human not to take it. 
Very soon came the awaking. I loathed the double 
life I had to lead, trying to hoodwink my uncle: 
I never felt myself a more utter hound than when 
I found how well I had succeeded. And Grazia 
could not understand, and we quarrelled about 
that and many things besides; there had always 
been a strain of hate mingled with our love: we 
used to flght like tigers all through our love-mak- 
ing before she came to me. I wonder If you would 
ever have found out that I have a fiendish temper ; 
I don't believe you would ; I lived in a new atmos- 
phere when I was with you." 

He looked at her, and something in his face 
seemed to melt; then suddenly he pulled himself 
together, averted his eyes, and drew a little back. 
Between them was a crevice in the wall, a jagged 
crack into which some earth had washed, and along 



404 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

the fissure tiny gold-green lichens had rooted: to 
Anstace it seemed like a chasm, across which 
neither he nor she dared reach a hand. 

After a minute's silence, he drew a deep breath 
and passed his hand over his eyes. 

*' Enough of the past; I dare not look back; but 
before we part we must speak of business. I must 
now do what I ought to have done long since, ask 
one of the Fathers here, who is well up in canon 
law, what steps I should take to free you from 
those empty vows." 

" Must you ? " said Anstace, very low, 

" Must I ? Why, of course. Some day, not 
just now, perhaps, but in the future, you may wish 
to form other ties, and then — ^unless indeed you 
mean to repudiate your conversion and return to 
the Anglican Communion " 

" That I shall never do," broke in Anstace, with 
decision. 

" Then it will be needful that those unmeaning 
bonds should be loosed." 

" Unmeaning ? They can never be wholly that 
to me. Will you let all rest, as it has been for 
more than a year past, until I ask you ? " 

He bent his head silently. 

She went on : " Of course I should not say this 
if you were still in the world, for in the world there 
can be no tie between us. But I like to think that 
what was was real; that we can never be truly 
nothing to each other." 

There was silence, only the tinkle of falling 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 405 

water sounded far below, and the distant footfall 
of Father Demetrius, as he came nearer, then 
retreated again, waiting to take Anstace back. At 
length Basil broke the silence. **It shall be as 
you wish." 

The time was wearing on, and Anstace knew the 
interview must soon end ; how long, she wondered, 
would that patient footstep wait for her? She 
could not break it off quite yet; there was so much 
she longed to know, yet hardly ventured to ask. 
What sort of life could she picture him leading in 
those long, solitary years, when she should hear 
nothing, know nothing? What were the expe- 
riences that had changed him from a young man, 
eager, impulsive, the creature of moods, to this 
calm, steadfast recluse, whose strength of self- 
restraint she felt as though it were a barrier of 
iron. 

" Won't you tell me," she asked softly, " some- 
thing of your life at Mount Athos? Is it a very 
strict Order?" 

" In the Western sense, the sense which you 
would attach to it, it is not an Order at all ; except 
for the rigid fasts, there is no rule, and hardly any- 
thing that answers to the discipline of Benedictines 
or Trappists. The Cenobites live a conmiunity 
life under a sort of Abbot, the Hegoumenos, but 
we of the Idiorrhythmic Lavra, have our own 
rooms, our own solitary life, even our own little 
property ; I have kept a small portion of the rents 
of Amygdala to live upon." 



4o6 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" But what do you do? " 

" There are long hours in the church, very long 
services to be recited; then we have a certain 
amount of outdoor work in cultivating our garden 
patches; some of us — a very few, I am afraid — 
read and study. Where I am there are wonderful 
old treasures of ancient manuscripts in a shock- 
ingly neglected condition; I am hoping to be al- 
lowed to bring a little order into them." 

" Are you ? How strange I That is my work, 
too." 

" You must tell me of your life; but first I want 
to arrange this. You say you do not want to annul 
— ^well, will you then let a portion of the settle- 
ment stand? That relating to Lady Jane's prop- 
erty. I have made away, as you know, with that 
of my uncle. Will you ? " 

She shook her head. " There is one thing you 
shall give me, if you will, the thing I came here 
purposely to ask : will you give me George for my 
own? Or, if you cannot do that, will you let me 
keep him while he is little? " 

"What? You would keep him? You women 
are strange creatures: I thought you would hate 
him when you knew." 

"When I knew that he was yours? Let me 
fetch him." 

She went quickly along the grassy terrace and 
round the bend, and he stood watching. A long, 
shuddering sigh, that was almost a groan, shook 
him: discipline had enabled him to show a calm 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 407 

front, but It had not yet mastered all longings. As 
she came towards him again, with the boy in her 
arms, his curly head pressed against her cheek, his 
eyes peeping round at the strange man half shyly, 
he wrung his hands together under the sleeve of 
his monkish habit. 

Stit sat down on the wall again, with George on 
her knee, stooping her head to him to tell him 
softly not to be afraid, to look up at the Brother, 
to go and say good-day to him. Georgie slid 
obediently from her knee, then lost courage and 
hid his face in her gown. She did not press him, 
and they waited. 

" See," she said, " what a baby he is; you could 
not send a creature like this to school where there 
are only men. Why, he can't wash and dress 
himself yet."- 

'* But, Anstace, I can't saddle you with him ; it 
would be monstrous; it is too much." 

" You mistake ; I am not ofifering a kindness ; I 
am asking a favour." 

" What will your people say to it ? " 

" My people have nothing to do with it. I have 
taken my life in my own hands now. Didn't you 
know I left home long before they went to Canada, 
and I am living in rooms in the depths of the coun- 
try? a splendid place for a child." 

" You forget; I know nothing." 

" Of course ; for the moment I did not remem- 
ber that you never had those long letters I used to 
write to you and post in a secret drawer." 



408 THE BRIDAL OF ANSTACE 

" Did you? Did you, really? Mayn't I have 
them now? " 

*^ I don't know ; no, I think not/' 

'' Let me. Restore to me some of the years that 
the locust has eaten. And afterwards you will 
write, if it is only at long intervals, just to tell me 
of the welfare of my son." 

" I did not know you would be allowed to re- 
ceive letters from the world." 

" There is no rule forbidding it. For this year 
I am but a novice ; at its end I have some hope of 
being allowed to take the higher vows. Yet even 
then letters may pass with the outer world, though 
after to-day I shall see you and George no more." 

Meantime the little one had stolen across the 
intervening space and laid his hand upon the roug^ 
black serge, and as Basil stooped his* head to him 
he lifted a little pursed-up mouth to be kissed. 
Basil silently lifted him and held him close. 

" You shall have him," he said, as he set him 
down; " I cannot " his voice broke for an in- 
stant — " it does not seem as if we stood far enough 
apart for me to thank you." 

Anstace rose to her feet. " You have given me 
a great gift, and the greatest happiness I can ever 
know now." 

" Would to God I could do anything to repair 
the ruin I have wrought in your life." 

" I will not have you say that," she cried; " it 
is not ruined." 
• " Do you truly not curse the day you saw me? " 



THE SILENCE BROKEN 409 

" No, a thousand times no. And I have come 
to see that what you have done now is best. Had 
you been still in the world, a wickedness might 
have crept in between us; it is best we part like 
this." 

" I know It. To live, wishing the death of 
another: that would speedily drag one down to 
hell. Go now : it is time. God be with you." 

He kissed the child and placed him in her arms, 
but he did not touch so much as her hand. He 
stood motionless, watching her, till she disappeared 
into the sunny garden. Her last glimpse of him 
was standing quiet, erect ; not till he lost her from 
sight did he sink to his knees and put his face down 
upon the wall. 

She did not go from him weeping, but walked 
with a strange exaltation through the hot noon-day 
air. It seemed to her that the ilex-bordered ter- 
race was as one of the glades of Paradise, and one 
day, when her task was ended, she might walk 
there with him again. 



THE END 



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$paaktr :— " It is that rarest and most welcome of works, a good romance 
of purefiction. . . • The use made of local colour and historical mcident is one 
of the author's unknown triumphs. ... In these re s pe cts ... it is the best 
novel that has appeared since ' Lema Doooe.' One of the most nrriring 
books of its own km d that we have ever read." 

By RICHARD BAGOT 

THE JUST AND THE UNJUST 

Crown 8vo. 6s. Third Edition 

Speetator:—" It is purely a novel of society, and is interesting chiefly 
because it gives real portraits of the world as we know iL Readers who filw 
a novel dealing with the world they live in, and peopled, not vrith dummies, 
but with reu live characters, will find 'The Just and the Uqjust' a 
thoroughly amusing and interesting book." 

Hanoheater Ouanllan:—" There is much brilliant writing in the book, 
the style is excellent, and the characters are admirably drawn. ' 

8t. Jam€§'» QaxwttB :— " Mr. Richard Bagot has put some capital work 
into his new novel, ' The Tost and the UqjusL' The plot is good, the story 
is wdl constructed, and delicate situations are delicately handled. 

WMtminsUr Aazett*:— "Mr. Ba^ot knows the world of whkh he 
writes, and the character studies in this voltune are drawn with subtlety.** 



John Lane's List of Fiction 

By ARNOLD BENNETT 

A MAN FROM THE NORTH 

Crown 8vo. 3/. 6d. 

Btaek and White .«— *'A work that will come to the jaded oorel reader as a 
•pkodid nuprise." 

Outlook .*— ** Literanr iniidlit and comprehensioo." 

Dally Chnntelo :^*^AdsmJbliy fresh and briek, vibrating with a wild, 
yoong ecitagy." 

By H. H. BASHFQRD 

THE MANITOBAN 

Bjr the Author of " Tommy Wideawake " 
Crown 8vo. 6s, 

Homing Post .'—" Nothiog lave admiration will be felt for the sketcbet of 
faw/i^aw life and cbaracter7' 
Uterarif WorM >-" Mr. Bashford'e clever and abeorbing ttory." 

By EX-LIEUT. BILSE 

LIFE IN A GARRISON TOWN 

(AUS EINER KLEINEN GARNISON) 
With a Portrait of the Author, Summary of the 
Court-Martial, an Introduction by Arnold Whitb, 
and a New Preface written by the Author whilst in 

Prison 

Crown 8vo. 6s. Fourth Edition 

\¥orMt-'**An indictment of a great system, the expowue of gigantic 
evils, odious abuses, deadlv moral and pbystosl wrongs; b mucn more 
important than any novel destined to take its chance as such with other 
novels.'* 

Tnitk :—" The disgraceful exposures of tbe book were expressly admitted 
to be true by the Minister of War m the Rdchstsf . Wbat the book will 
probablv suggest to you is» that German militarism is cutting its own throat, 
and will ooeday be hoist with its own petard." 

DEAR FATHERLAND 



Crown 8vo. 



6x. 



Dally Toloyrapk >-** At once fissdnating and disgiisttng. . . . The book 
is a terrible indictment of the soulless and brutalised «niK>«yi«« of the 
Fatherland. ... A strong book, uid one to be read by all interested in the 
present and future of the German Empire . . . perhaps a better book from 
a literary point of view than * Life in a Garrison Town.' " 



A 



John Lane's List of Fiction 

By T. B. CLEGG 

THE LOVE CHILD 

Crown 8va 6j. Second Edition 

Truth :—" A nngiilsrly powerful book. . > . Tbe pdnfol story grips yoa 
from first to last." 

KiUf/t|f Falr>-" Extremely powerfitL . > . It has the tru e p o wer of tragedy. 
. • . Mr. Qegg shows s brilliant power of character oreatioa ud devoop- 
ment. . . • Inthe scope of his comprehensioD of human nature, in the widUi 
of his sympathy, in his communing with nature, he shows himadf a really 
great writer." 

DtJIfi T9l9Qrapli >~" K strong and interesting story, the fnnt ofcarefid 
thought and conscientious workmanship. • • • Mr. Qegg has presented 
intensely dramatic situations without lettmg them degenerate into the okIo- 
dramatic" 

Fait Hall Qax€tt9 >-" Mr. elegy's book is one that will be remembered.** 

Homing |jatf«r>-*'The mafeenal of the novel is splendid. . . • The 
i'k***i*«* of Mary Tenqde is drawn in a powerful, even masterly, — '-^-— " 



By G. K. CHESTERTON 

THE NAPOLEON OF 
NOTTING HILL 

With Seven Illustrations and a Cover Design bv W. 
Graham Robertson, and a Map of the Seat of War. 

Crown 8vo. 6s, 

Mr. Jambs Douglas, in the Star .'— " An alleforical romance, a didactic 
fantasy, a humorous whimsy. It is not easy to say what it means ; Mr. 
Chestarton himself probably does not know." 

Datjif Mall >~" Mir. Chesterton, as our laughmg philosopher, is at his best 
in this delightful bntasy." 

Wttmlntter Qaittte :— " It is undeniabljr clever. It scintillates rhst is 
exactly the right word— with bright and epigrammatic observatioos, and it 
is written throughout with undoubted literary skill." 

By VICTORIA CROSSE 

THE WOMAN WHO DIDN'T 

Crown 8vo. 3/. 6d, net Third Edition 

fl^ta*«r:>-" The femfaune sift of intuition seems to be deve l ope d with 
almost uncanny strength, and what she sees she has the power of flithing 
upon her readers with wonderful vividness and felicity of phrase. 
A strong and subtle studv of feminine nature, biting irony, restrained ~ 
and a style that is both forcible and polishea." 



John Lane's List of Fiction 



By GEORGE EGERTON 

KEYNOTES 



Crown 8vo. 



y. td, net Ninth Edition 

8t Jam0$'M Oaitttt .^— " This as s collection of oght of the prettiest short 
stories that have appeared for maay a day. They tarn for the most part on 
fiBnumiie traiu of character ; in huet, the hook is a liule psychological study 
of woman nnder various drcumstances. The characters are so admirably 
drawn, and the scenes and landscapes are described with so much and so rare 
vividness, that we cannot help beins almost spell-bound by their perusal." 




ovely sketches are informed by such throbbing 
feeling, such bsight into complex womaop that we with all speed and warmth 
advise those who are in searcn of splendid literature to purchase ' Keynotes ' 
without dday.*' 



w 



DISCORDS 



Crown 8vo. 



3J. 6d, net 



Sixth Edition 



Datiif Ttltanpk :—" These masterly word-sketches." 

Littnry World >— " Sbe has ^ven, times without number, examples of bar 
ripening powers that astonish us. Her themes astound; her audadty is 
tremendous. In the many great passages an advance is proved that is httle 
short of amasing." 

SotJwr :—** The book is true to human nature, for the author has genius, 
and, let us add, has heart. It is representative ; it is, in the hackneyed 
phrase, a human document." 

SYMPHONIES 



Crown 8vo. 



61. 



Second Edition 



8t. i/ajiM«'c Qaxtttt :—** Thete is plenty of pathos and no little power in 
the volume before us." 

DtUlif iy«w«.'— "The impressionistic descriptive passa^ and the human 
touches that abound in the book lay hold of the imsginatinn and lioger in the 
m / fm r rry of the reader." 

ikUiy r«/«0ni^:~-"The story entitled *A Chilian Episode' is actually 
alive with the warm light and the sensuous climate of the Bay of Valparaiso." 

FANTASIAS 



Crown Svo. 



3i. 6^. net 



Daill/ Chr9iiM§>^* * These ' Fantasias ' are pleaant reading— typical 

or tales upon the poetry and prose of life, prostitution, and the beauty of 
dreams and truth." 

Aead§my ."— " The writing is often extremdy clever : the clever, self- 
cooscknis writing of one who has read mudi." 



• ^ 



John Lane's List of Fiction 



Bv the Author of " Elizabeth's Children 



«« 



THE YOUNG O'BRIENS 

Crown 8vo. 6s. 

HELEN ALLISTON 

Crown 8vo. 6s. 

UUrary WwU :—*' A sucoesrioo of deligfatinK du^iten, endinc with one m 
which the author esccda hondf. It is a long time since we have read a 
moie graoeful coDdiuioa." 

PaiiMait Oatett9 : '* The hook has yiwdtj, fluency, colour, more than a 
toodi of poetry and paaaioB. . . . We shall look forward wmi interest to 
future work hy the author of ' Helen Alliston.' " 

ikJly Qraphle:—**Tbit dialoj^ue all through is sparkling with wit . . . 
scarcoy a dull line from beginnmg to end ... the children are ddightfiiL" 

Oat/y N4W9 :—** A singuhurly pretty narrative." 

9t. JamM's Oozstt*:— '* All child lovers wiU delight in this book." 

Byttanilv.—** A ddightfU story, thoroughly fresh and wholesome, wxitteo 
in a light and pleasant style, and with oopgderahle literary skill." 



ELIZABETH'S CHILDREN 

Crown 8vo. 6s. Fifth Edition 

Dally Telegraph :— " The book is charming ... the author . . . has a 
delicate fanciful touch, a charming imagination . . . skilfully suggests 
character and moods . . . b bright and witty, and writes about chudren 
with exquisite knowledge and sympathy." 

ikJiy mati>-** The work b witty, neatly phrased, frill of frin and good 
fading from the first page to the last. 

Morning LMUter >^** Very prettily written. . . • The author has a 
charming style." 

By W. S. JACKSON 

HELEN OF TROY, N.Y. 

Crown 8vo. 6s. 

Daliy Chronieit :— " The story b at once original, impoasiU^ artificial, 
and very amusing. Go, get the work and read." 

NINE POINTS OF THE LAW 

Crown 8vo. 65. 

MwnehttUr Quardlaii >~"Th» kindly humorous philosophy of thb 
most diverting story b as remarkable as its attractive style. There b hazdty 
a page erithout sooMthing quotable^ some neat bit of phrasing or apt wording 
oTa truth." 



John Lane's List of Fiction 

By HERBERT FLOWERDEW 

A CELIBATE'S WIFE 

Crown 8vo. 6s. Second Edition 

8p€ttkw:—** Mr. Flowerdew does undoabtedly exhibit a power ci graphic 
and vivid naixatioa." 

Daity OhronhlB :->** The book has many and striking merits. The pbt is 
bold and original.** 

Dally Mall: — "Unmistakablj clever as a piece of literary work. . . . Son 
excelloit writing, and some equally excellent and sharp analysb of character, 

THE REALIST 



Crown 8vo. 



6i. 



Pall Hall Oaiattt .^— " Those who love a story which will hold their attention 
ctosdy from the first page to the last need not go further than * The Realist.*** 

By HAROLD FREDERIC 

MARCH HARES 

Crown 8vo. 3^. bd, net Third Edition 

MRS. ALBERT GRUNDY 

OBSERVATIONS IN PHILISTIA 
Fcap. 8vo. 3^. 6d. net Second Edition 

By ELIZABETH GODFREY 

THE WINDING ROAD 

Crown 8vo. 6s. Second Edition 

UUrairy World:— -A carefully written storj. . . Miss Godfrey has the 
mind of a poet ; her pages breathe of the beautiful in nature without ~~ — 
long descnption, while the stngl»>hearted low b e tw e en Jasper and Phr 
describ ed with power and charm." 

By VALENTINA HAWTREY 

PERRONELLE 



Crown 8va 



6s. 



r/jRM ."— " The story u a passionate one. a thing of lightning flashes of 

Slcasure and pain. . . . With no diqday oi efint, with no laborious intro- 
ncdon of oarrect detafl. she wraps evcrydung in an atmosphere of old Puis. 
Here is all the medisBval delight m beautiful things, in craftsmanship : here 
all the cruelty and brutality, all the passion and stress, and the brave 
uncertainty of Hfe." 
Full Hall OoMotta >-**h pMce of exquisite Uterary work." 



. I 



John Lane's List of Fiction 



By RICHARD GARNETT 

THE TWILIGHT OF THE 

GODS AND OTHER STORIES 

Crown 8vo. 6x. Second Edition 

Daiiif Chnuiid* :— *' A tttbUe compoond of phOonphy and irony. Let 
the reader uke these itories as pare fun— lively mddent and droll chaxacler 
— and be wUl be agreeably surprised to find how stimulating they are." 

r/jnet .'«— " Here is learning in plenty, drawn from all ages and moat 
languages, but of dryness or dulness not a sentence. The nook b ubble s 
with laughter. . . . His sense of humour has a wide range." 



By ANNIE E. HOLDSWORTH 

A NEW PAOLO AND 
FRANCESCA 

Crown 8vo. 6s, 

Bookman .'—"Picturesque, intense, and poetical." 



THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH 

LUCK O' LASSENDALE 



Crown 8vo. 



6s. 



Mr. A. T. QatLLKK-CoucH, m the Dattff Homo .*<—** It pussies me bow any 
man who adnures 'Mansfield Park' intelligently can treat * Luck o* ' — ^ 
dale ' as a thing of no aooounL" 



Bookmao >-** We have a throw-hack to Jane Austen, and, in 
a remarkable one, although its shrewd humour would seem to ha^ 
apprehension by the renewers." 



Crown 8vo. 



CHARMS 

bs. 



Bt Jamoo's Qaiotto .^— " A charming and pathetic tale, abeorbnv to the 
end. 



John Lane's List of Fiction 



By HENRY HARLAND 

THE 

CARDINAL'S SNUFF-BOX 

A New Edition, with Title-Page, Cover Design, 
End Papers, and nearly lOO Drawings by G. C. 

WiLMSHURST. 

Crown 8vo. 6;. 165 th Thousand 

A9tut0my >— ** The drswingt are all escellent in style and really OlustradTO 
of the tale." 
Tlm9» .^—'* A book aoMaDg a'tbouaand." 
8p€etator>—A channias romanoe.'' 
Sutunlay Mwl^w .^" WboUy delighdnl." 
Fan Hall Qaiatta >-" Dainty and delicious.* 



t> 



MY FRIEND PROSPERO 

Crown 8vo. 6x. Third Edition 

Ttmoi >~" There is no denying the charm o. the work, the delicacy and 
fragrancy of the style, the sonny ofaiy of the <fialogoe» the Tivadty of the 
wit, >uxl the graceful flight of the tuycj,** 

World :^*^Thb reading of it is a pleasure rare and nnaUoyed.** 

THE LADY PARAMOUNT 

Crown 8vo. 6j. Fifty-fifth Thousand 

COMEDIES AND ERRORS 



Crown 8vo. 



6s. 



Third Edition 



Mr. W. L. CouiiTMST, in the Dally Ul^gmpk :—•* K kind of 



Pater, enumcipated from thoee craaming academic bonds whidi ocraannally 
iidw«d Mr. Pater's work. Mr. Harland is younnr, freer, with Juvenile 
spirits and a happy keennen and interest in lue. He is more of a creator 
aiid less of a cntic ; perhaps some day be will even achieve the same kind 
of literary distinctaoo as that which adorned bis okler rivaL" 

Mr. Hbnky jAMn, in Fortnightly /r«*/Mr.^"Mr. Harhmd baa clearly 
thought out a form. ... He wui mastered a method and learned how to 
pamt His art is all aUve with felicities and delicacks." 



GREY ROSES 



Crown 8vo. 



y. f>d. net 



Fourth Edition 



Dally Tol9grapk .^— '* ' Grey Roses ' are entitled to rank among thechoicest 
Bowen of the realms of romance." 

g^Mtatof.w" Really delightful. 'Castles near Spain 'is as near perfection 
as it could well be.** 

MADEMOISELLE MISS 

Crown 8vo. 31. 6J. Third Edition 

Spaaktr :— ** All through the book we are pleased and entertahMd." 



John Lane's List of Fiction 



By RICHARD LE GALLIENNE 

THE QUEST OF THE 

GOLDEN GIRL: A Romance 



Crown 8vo, 



6^. 



Fifteenth Edition 



Wwtdf-^" It is oertftinly a book to read, fer it woald be a pity to mias 
the umnj ezquidte pssnges it confajna* 
IkUfy M9U% :—" A piece of Uterarj srt whidi oompds our admiratiao.'* 

THE 

ROMANCE OF ZION CHAPEL 

Crown 8vo. 6s. Second Edition 

at ^tUHM'a eaittt9 >-" Mr. Le GeUieone'i mssterpieoe." 

THE 

BOOK BILLS OF NARCISSUS 

Crown 8vo. 3;. 6d. net Second Edition 

THE 

WORSHIPPER OF THE IMAGE 

Crown 8vo. 31. 6d. net 

Ai//f CAiwi/d/* : '* CoDteiu pesnges of a pojgnaiiqr which Mr. Le ^^ 
OSS never before conpesaed. 

By A. E. J. LEGGE 

THE FORD 



Crown 8vo. 



6s. 



Second Edition 

devtr sod thoqghtfoL 'The 



Statidard :—" An impreuive work . . 
Ford ' deserves to be Urgely read." 

Mr. Jambs Douglas, in Star >^" It is foil of findj phrased wit sad 
costly satire. It is modem in its handling, and it is admirably written." 



MUTINEERS 



Crown 8vo. 



6s. 



Spaaker :—" An mteresdng story related with admirable hcidity and 
remarkable grasp of character. Mr. htggt writes with polish and grace." 

BOTH GREAT AND SMALL 

Crown 8vo. 6s, 

Saturday Smhm .^— " We read on and on with increasing pkasnre." 



John Lane's List of Fiction 

By WILLIAM J. LOCKE 

Crown 8vo. 6s, 

THE MORALS OF 
MARCUS ORDEYNE 

Mr. C. K. SnoRTBit, in flipA«r«>-" A book which has just ddaghted my 



Tnttk :~" Mr. Locke's new novel is one of the most artistic pieces of work 
I haTe met with lor many a day." 

Mr. L. F. AusTiH, in Daiif( Chrotifeh ^'"'Mx. Locke succeeds, indeed, 
in vnrj crisis of this most original story." 

VmHg Fair >-** A very striking work." 

WHERE LOVE IS 

Mr. Jamss Douglas, in Star >-" I do not often praise a book with this 
eiraltant gusto* but it gave me so much spuitual stimulus and moral 
pleasure that I feel bound to snatch the additional delight of commending 
It to those readers who long for a novel that is a piece of meiature as well as 
n piece of life." 

DERELICTS 

DtUlff Okrotiiol9 .'^" Mr. Locke tells his story m a very true, very moving, 
and very noble book. If anyone can read the fast chapter with dry eyes we 
shall be surprised. * Derelicts ' b an impressive and important book." 

IDOLS 

Dalty Ttltgraph >-*' A brilliantly written and emmently readable book." 

THE USURPER 

THE WHITE DOVE 

AT THE GATE OF SAMARIA 



PREVIOUS NOVELS BY W. J. LOCKE 

A STUDY IN SHADOWS 

Crown 8vo. 3^. 6d. Second Edition 

THE DEMAGOGUE AND LADY 

PHAYRE 

Crown 8vo. 3^. 6d. New Edition 



John Lane*s Lrist of Fiction 



By CHARLES MARRIOTT 

THE COLUMN 



Crown 8vo. 



6j. 



Thirteenth Thousand 



DtUlif Mmia§ >— " A noCaUe book ... an important book. A novd whidi 
brine* tofether ttroog and aobtle power of nignstiDg character, i«maikable 
hiunour. and all the best laoilties of the writenknown to every one.'* 

Mr. W. L. CoiJSTicBT, b Doilff T9l§gnfik .'— " Whoever Mr. Charles 
Marriott nar be, he has written a very renuukable novel. . . . Let as be 
thankful to Mr. Charies Marriott. He has written a book rery fresh, very 
original, very interesting and suggestive. He has handled situations m 
the tme spirit of an artist. His style is carelul. Above all, he t^*~*^- 
for himself. 

Tnttk J*—" Hie promising worit of a powecibl pen." 

LOVE WITH HONOUR 



Crown 8vo. 



6i. 



Mr. W. L. CousTMSY, in Daity Tettgnph >-" Mr. Marriott handles Us 

scenes in the true spirit of an artist. There are chapters in this book triiich 
are not only picturesquely written, but intrinsically vivid and strong." 

Outlook >-" Mr. Charles Marriott and the public are equally to be con- 
gratulated." 

THE HOUSE ON THE SANDS 



Crown 8vo. 



6x. 



Aa//y Tolograph ."— " Mr. Marriott's new book has all the quail 
good novel and many of the qualities of a great one. . , » It contai 
superb fhnract— ' drawing much subtlety of wit and genuine epigram. 



of a 



By CONSTANCE E> MAUD 

AN ENGLISH GIRL IN PARIS 



Crown 8vo. 



ts. 



Fourth Edition 



i Oii/oolr«r.w«<«ij| EagjishOiriin Paris'ts/M/a/oft^Parsmmr. It is 
ckict it is amusing, and it is artisdc** 

W—tmlnttMr Gaxetto:—"A delightful book— a book which keeps 
constantly interested and fi»*»"— ^ ; a book through which there n a 
r^ple of humour." 

Outiook :—*'A disrming book ; and a piece of literature as wdL* 



John Lane's List of Fiction 



By T. BARON RUSSELL 

BORLASE AND SON 

Crown 8vo. bs. 



Bookman >-" Judged as literature, we know of no novel jpubltshed this ]rear 
that is likely to rank higher than 'Borlase and Son/ The people are 
intensdj human ; the life it describes is every-day life ; its events grip the 
attention and haunt the memory, as things do that have really happraed." 

KoJi/fjf Fair >-" Demands attention as a very notable bode." 
Daiig CMronte/o >-An author who thoroughly knows what he is writing 
about. . . . The details of the life in the Peckham draper's are made 
interesting to the reader by the sheer force of their realism. . . . Borlasa 
senior is an admirable piece of character drawing." 

St Jamn 'a Qaxotto .^— " Bir. Russell has evidentlir learned his subject from 
inside, and he has a readj pen as wdl as the real fiiculty of making his 
reader see what he himselt has 



f» 



Morning Loatlor >—" The real originality of the book lies in the author's 
remarkaUe knowledge of, and in^gbt into, the life which he describes, and 
his power of nmking his perwnages live and move." 



A GUARDIAN OF THE POOR 

Crown 8vo. 6s, 

Pall Mall Oajfttt.^— "Mr. Baron Russdl has succeeded so admirably, so 
convincingly, in this difficult task, that I onlv chedc the eulogies quivering 
at the point of my pen for fear they may read like 'gush.' " 

Bfr. C0UL8ON KssNAHAN, m the Tompio Magazlnt >-" Haunting, and 
all the more haunting because pictured with such realism and such art. Mr. 
Rnssell is the Zola of Cambcrwell and Pockham." 



THE 

Crown 8vo. 



MANDATE 

6s. 



OrapMo >^" Besides its menu of originality, it has those of a remarkably 
virile style, and of a capacity for the portrayal of real passion which we 
tnist to meet again." 

Bookman >^" Orwhial and striking. . . . There is immistakable talent 
in the book. Mr. Kussdl should go tar." 

Outlook >"*' A peculiar blending of careful realism widi careAil ■ensatioo. 
The mun characters are well drawn." 

Morning Loador ."— " ' The Mandate ' is a novel out of the coaunoo, and is 
stamped with the impress of no little creative power." 



^ i 



• ^^^ 



John Lane's List of Fiction 

By HAROLD WINTLE 

THE CLEANSING OF THE 

"LORDS ": A Political Romance 

Crown 8vo. 6j. 

Morning Lmutor^-*' One of the moat divertiog and brilliant of political 

lomances since Ditraeli died." 
tittneke8terC0uH0r:—**A€AevertXiary. . . written with neat htunonr." 
Qtatgow Homid:—" This whimsical story. . . . Mx. Wmtle has every 

opportnnity for dis|riaying his very pretty gift of social and political satire. ' 

By H. B. MARRIOTT WATSON 

AT THE FIRST CORNER 

AND OTHER STORIES 

Crown 8vo. 31. 6^. net 

Saturdag RnlwB :>-'* Admirably coooeived and brilliantly finished ; the 

book will be read." 
Pall Mall 9ax9tt§ >-*' Brilliance, versatility, and literary power." 
Black and WMU ."— « Remarkable for diversit]^ of subiect and brilliance of 

style. Every page of this charming volome is onginaL" 

GALLOPING DICK: A Romance 

Crown 8vo. 6j. 

Dallti Teltfrafih :— " We have an always attractive theme worked np in 
an onptelentious but thoroughly effective style." 

THE HEART OF MIRANDA 

Crown 8vo. 6j. 

Pall Mall eaietU >-;' Mr. Watson's style is distinguished for its happiness 
of selectioOf its su g ge s t i veness, srad refinement." 
Dallg TelegraphT-^** Mr. Watson has prodaoed another remarkable book." 

By M. P. WILLCOCKS 

WIDDICOMBE 

Crown 8vo. 6s. 

£Mntng Standard ^—"'Waadafally alive and pulsating with a cmious 
fervour, which brings round the reader the very atmoq^ere which the 
author describes. ... A fine, rather unusuad novel. . . . There are some 
striking studies of women." 

Truth :—" A first novel of most unusual proB^se." 

Qu9en >->" An unusually clever bode" 



I 



V 



lifPiH 

3 bios 002 233 372 



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STANFORD UtflVERSITY UBRARIE8 
STANFORD, CALIFORNIA 94305-6004